A good writer has a distinctive voice. A great writer has an inimitable one. Regardless of subject or place in time or space, good and great writers share one trait-they are true to their personalities, spirits, and characters. How do they do this? How can WE do this as teachers and writers? And how can we show our students what crafting an authentic voice entails?
One of our premier writers on the writing process and writing workshop, Tom Romano, tells us. In a compelling and manageable text, he makes the case for giving special time and attention to voice as a means to get students involved and improve their writing, particularly expository writing. Using his own strong voice and trademark narrative style, he teaches by example-his own and his students'-how writers can be true to themselves and vivid on the page to pull readers in and keep them reading.
More than that, Romano is an irresistible motivator to write well. His infectious enthusiasm, intellect, and heart shine through every chapter-from his tempting "antipasto" of stories and poems beginning each section of his book to the delicious courses that follow. He divides his text into small readable parts that consider the "delight and dilemma of voice," the qualities of voice, and the relationship of voice and identity. Many examples indicate ways to "trust the gush." And there are practical ideas here, too-strategies and techniques for immediate use in your teaching and writing.
Read and take heed of Romano. Craft an authentic voice in your own writing. Teach students how they can do the same. Then revel in the candor and insight, the absorbing and entertaining stories, the clear thinking--the good, maybe even great, writing.