In The Middle: New Understandings About Writing, Reading, and Learning
. Portsmouth: Heinemann, 1998. While intended primarily for the teacher of the middle grades, Atwell's discussions of how reading and writing are classroom community endeavors are invaluable to the secondary teacher as well. Atwell provides useful models for implementing reading and writing workshops, along with samples of student work, to benefit the experienced and the novice teacher.
Writing Without Teachers
. London: Oxford UP, 1973. This is an excellent and essential text about the process of writing, and using writing to think. Elbow provides a useful approach to writing for the fledgling writer and for the expert. Students and teachers alike will benefit from this book.
Gates, Henry Louis, Jr.
Reading Black, Reading Feminist: A Critical Anthology
. New York: Meridian, 1990. This collection of essays about literature by and about black women is useful in augmenting one's knowledge of these authors and their work.
An Introduction to Shared Inquiry
. Chicago: The Great Books Foundation, 1992. This guide accompanies the Great Books seminars (a great staff development opportunity), and is a useful resource in developing the English language arts classroom as a center of inquiry and discovery. This book includes a thorough discussion of becoming an interpretive reader, as well as instructions on how to implement the philosophy in the classroom. Also included are course materials and sample curriculum units.
Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches
. Trumansburg, NY: The Crossing Press, 1984. Though primarily known as a poet, Lorde's contribution to feminist literary criticism is key. While some of these pieces may seem dated, they are important to our understanding the place of the black woman writer in our culture.
Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination
. New York: Vintage, 1992. This is a sophisticated, and invaluable, consideration of the presence of race in the American literary canon. It is useful as a supplement to Morrison's own novels, but also provides readers with important tools through which to view the work of other American writers.
Rich, Adrienne. "When We Dead Awaken: Writing as Revision."
On Lies, Secrets, and Silence: Selected Prose 1966 - 1978
. By Adrienne Rich. New York: Norton, 1979. 33 - 49. While this essay has become a cornerstone of feminist criticism, its ideas about reading and writing are valuable to a wide cross-section of readers. Rich makes a compelling argument in favor of knowing literary history in order to better know ourselves.
Walker, Rebecca, ed.
To Be Real: Telling the Truth and Changing the Face of Feminism
. New York: Anchor, 1995. As its title suggests, this collection of essays provides a look into the feminist psyche in 1990s American culture. While the essays are uneven in their quality, there are pieces here that are useful in painting a more complete picture of where feminist thought is headed in popular culture. Some of the young writers collected here (Rebecca Walker is Alice Walker's daughter) are appealing and accessible to younger readers.
A Room of One's Own
. San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1929. This essay is essential to the understanding of the development of women's voices in literature. Here Woolf asks questions about being a writer to which her literary daughters are still seeking answers.