Ralph Fletcher was born on 17th March in 1953 at a region called Marshfield in Massachusetts. He was the first born in a family of nine children. Both of his parents hailed from homes each with eight children and therefore he grew up surrounded by hordes of relatives. In such a complex family, he had the privilege of being narrated lots of stories from his grandparents and his Irish uncles. He swapped those stories with those of his friends and cousins and supplemented many other stories by reading books.
When he was young, he was motivated by such books as Jack London’s The Call of the Wild and the stories wrote by Edgar Allen Poe. He envied the writers of those stories and he would contemplate,” Man! Wouldn’t it be unbelievable writing such kind of books and affect other people even half the way those books affected him.” As he put it, those books taught him greatly but of all the teachings, what stood like a nugget on sinking soil was the ” power of words.” During his junior and high school education, he was fortunate to have teachers who gave him the psyche to keep on writing. When that encouragement ceased, he wrote clandestinely in his notebooks.
During his college life, he travelled to two overseas countries: Tonga (South Pacific) and Sierra Leone (West Africa). During such travels, he would write down extraordinary facts, particulars, intuitions and insights which were the basis of his poems’ ideas and character outlines. However, the turning point of his life came after the sudden death of his brother, Bob, who at only 17, his life had been nipped at the bud after a road accident.. The deceased brother gave him the gusto to write a novel in the first flush of his mind, Fig Pudding.
Annually, he would have a party dubbed BYOP, Bring Your Own Poem party. In 1975, he graduated with a B.A degree from Dartmouth College. When he attained the age of 28, he then pursued a master’s degree in fiction writing from Columbia University. After graduation, he was later to work with remarkable writers such as Gail Godwin, Edmund White and Richard Price and who greatly molded him. He has participated in teaching in New York classes on the Teacher College writing project. Currently, he visits schools and talks with budding writers and readers. He is also an educational consultant.
Ralph Fletcher is a resident of Lee in New Hampshire and is husband to Joann Portalupi with whom she has four boys. Her wife has co-authored with him a number of educator books.
Ralph Fletcher has many poetry books, children’s picture books, professional educator books and a memoir under his belt. Some of his works are: The Magic Nest (1980), Twilight Comes Twice (1997), Walking Trees (1991) and Marshfield Dreams: When I Was a Kid (2005) respectively.
What interested me most about Ralph Writer is the remarkable work that he has and done to spark young readers and assist them in the work. For example, there is where he says that he,” lugged a big bag of books from class to class, and shared them with students to spark their writing.” Elsewhere, he says that he,” a special interest in young writers…and wants to do whatever I can to nourish the talents of young writers. The fact that he tries to trigger off new writers, makes him interesting to me because he depicts the fact he specializes in that field for passion and not as an obligation. The other thing that makes him interesting to me is that he doesn’t feature his work in a particular area, rather, his field of specialization, spans a wide area: poem collections, educator books, children’s picture books, non-fiction books and teacher books.
Portalupi, Joan & Fletcher, Ralph (2001).Non-fiction Craft Lessons: Teaching Information Writing K-8, Stenhouse Publishers, ISBN 9781571103291
This book is meant to teachers and it gives them immense strategies that they can apply to assist students bud into strong non-fiction writers. In the book, there are strategies that help students build up their ideas as they write.
Fletcher, Ralph (1997). Twilight Comes Twice, Clarion Books, ISBN 0395848261
Ralph Fletcher uses poetic prose to illustrate a full moon in an autumn and the brilliant effect that it has on our world and everything in it: animals, plants and the human.
Moore, Andrew & Fletcher Ralph (1996), Buried Alive: The Elements of Love, Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, 0689805934
Moore and Fletcher use an anthology of poems to look at the secrecies and amazements of love and they categorized them into “Earth”, “Air”, “Water” and “Fire”.
Fletcher Ralph (1996), Writer’s Notebook: Unlocking the Writer Within You, HarperCollins Publishers, 0380784300
Fletcher again puts his crafty writing into other writers as in how they can observe and capture precious moments and put them in a notebook, memories, conjuring pictures in the mind and also puts examples of works done by other writers.
Fletcher Ralph (2000), How Writers Work: Finding a Process That Works for You, HarperCollins Publishers, 038079702X
Fletcher authors this book centered on the techniques and skills that are appropriate for excellent writing .The author also puts samples of work done by budding writers and also pieces of settled writers.
The theoretical perspective of Ralph Fletcher
Some of the perspectives put forward by the author are: the only way to survive as a writer may be by keeping a notebook. During the writing tests, boys slot behind girls across the grades since boys don’t enjoy writing. On his book, Boy Writers, he opines that classroom stimulations of boys can be achieved by proposing that the teachers conjure the classroom from the boy’s perspective. Together with his co-author, they argue that in most cases we greatly regard both the beginning and the ending of the writing process and in those moments, we the students are left on their own to make many decisions such as “crafting leads, voice, setting, mood and character.”
Most of Ralph Fletcher’s books are inspirational since they motivate and give the guidance to young and upcoming writers give the tips of how teachers can mould the writers. His poetry collections try to understand the earthly issues such as love, using characters such as “earth”, “water”, “air” and “fire”. When the author uses these elements he describes them in a way that his intended audience can visualize since there are unlimited and occur everywhere.
Review of Ralph Fletcher’s articles
Summary of major ideas in Tips for Young Readers article
Fletcher puts it that “story starters” don’t count what counts is that writing ideas are inside the writer and the biggest step forward is to delve into them. When starting to write, the writer can write into anything ranging from family members, friendships that he had or life experiences. On the article, the author puts it how writers can use the Writers Notebook by writing about the things the stirs negative or positive emotions in them; wonders, what the writer notices (observation), ideas that intrigue, articles, memories and photos, eavesdropping, and quotes and inspirations.
Fletcher suggests that once the writer has gathered the material for writing, he: reread so as to come up with the best work, sample extracts from other writers, try to make the best of his work and be flexible to write bad, choose the basis of work on material that stir up strong emotions and feature writing in his writing. The author suggests that the writers should have the notebooks with them at all places and time so that they can write when the urge gnaws at them; when free to pull out their notebooks; the notebooks should reflect their characters and if they like drawing, should be full of drawings; and should be enthusiastic in what they do.
They should involve their immediate friends and restrain themselves from being chatterboxes since they can since they can talk a mystery out of an a would-be idea and they should arrange their ideas in a list, they should give themselves; the writers should give themselves three minutes to think of each idea and they should “publish” work by giving it to readers of which can be achieved through photocopying and distributing it to your friends, mailing, record themselves reading those stories, look for prospective publishers such as school newspapers, yearbook, local newspapers, magazines and should always be on the look out for contests in bookstores.
Review of the article Books by Writing Teachers by Ralph Fletcher
In this article, Fletcher opines that the writing workshop isn’t the only way to teach. Though there are other ways, none surpasses writing workshop when it comes to nurturing strong writers. According to the author, it perhaps points to the reason why the writing workshops have endured the test of time in many institutions countrywide.
The author writes this book and recommends it to the teachers who need to get the writing workshops functioning through plain principles that underlying the writing workshop with every chapter tackling a vital element accompanied with suggestions which can be implemented by the teacher to in the idea being discussed (Surhone Lambert, 2010).The author sets aside one chapter which gives tips to the teacher on how writing context can be taught. The book comes to an end, with the author supplying appendices for fluid flow of the workshop.
Interview with Ralph Fletcher
Asked to say about his background and how it has influenced him regarding boys and literacy, he says that he indulged that he graduated from the Columbian University with an MFA degree but before that, he had been freelancing for magazines after he got out of college. He was later to meet Lucy Calkins who made him get involved with the Teachers College Writing Project.
Asked what inspired him to write the Boy Writers, Fletcher said that boys are put down by classroom writing and that when the performance of the girls was viewed from a national perspective, the boys were poor performers. Having witnessed that, he started a writing process movement and that he helped the boys in a particular kind of writing which as he terms it, “sincere, serious, nice and emotional” of which the boys didn’t perform well. As the interviewee puts it, the boys have been restricted from areas that they can star in writing but unfortunately, have been “sanitized” (no war, no weapons, no blood and no farts). Therefore Fletcher opines that they are supposed to be affianced for them to become strong writers.
On his website, Fletcher provides tips to budding writers and pieces of advice namely: getting a writer’s notebook for writing purposes and practicing writing, reading everything that they come across and positioning themselves as children since it’s at that stage that the writers could be privileged to have.
Ralph Fletcher has a great advice for parents whose sons loathe either reading or writing: the parents should target low-pressure situations such as during vacation and give them unlined notebooks to draw whatever they can, using notebooks for collecting materials such as photos since are known to be notorious collectors, get interested in what they write and react to it like if it’s humorous and also through writing personal materials and then sharing them with the son.
Ralph Fletcher opines that the best that can be done to the boys in the classrooms by the teachers is : letting them write and on the topics that they aspire, look for the humor from the boys work and brace themselves for violent works.
The librarians should know the books that the young ones like, books such as those full of humor, depicting war, non-fiction and also fantasy books.
Surhone Lambert, T. (2010). Ralph Fletcher. Eastern Cape,S.A.: VDM Verlag Dr. Mueller AG & Co. Kg.