Time to Write, Second Edition

The Influence of Time and Culture on Learning to Write

By John Sylvester Lofty

Subjects: Education, Literacy Studies, Educational Research, Ethnography, Anthropology
Paperback : 9781438455204, 432 pages, January 2016
Hardcover : 9781438455198, 432 pages, March 2015

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Table of contents

Foreword to the First Edition
Foreword to the Second Edition
ACT I: A Maine-Island Fishing Community in the 1980s
Introduction to 1992 Edition
1. Ways with Lobsters
2. Work on the Island
3. Fay: Time on the Threshold of Writing
4. Mark: Writing in Grade Six
5. Christie: Writing and the Future
6. Timescapes for Literacy
ACT II: Twenty-Five Years Later
Introduction to the 2014 Edition
7. Return to the Island
8. Writing in High School: On Paper-Online
9. Time and Being in School
10. Elementary- and Middle-School Foundations
11. Shoptalk: Teachers’ New Learning
12. Timescapes for Literacies
Appendix 1: Approach: Mapping the Timescapes of Literacy
Appendix 2: Student Writings
Appendix 3: School-Wide Expectation Assignments (SWEs)

Analyzes interviews with students, teachers, and administrators to develop a new set of literacies essential for student success in the digital age.


"To read John's work is to take on the role of a patient listener … A book, like a piece of music, is scored for time, and I feel Time to Write is scored adagio. … I believe that Time to Write can be read as a critique of [the] time-chopping approach to education—and an argument for presence, for being fully open to experience, for being there … To do good work, we must enter something like 'island time' or what John calls 'existential time'—or what is sometimes called 'flow' when we lose, at least temporarily, a sense of clock time. " — from the Foreword by Thomas Newkirk

Twenty-five years ago, John Sylvester Lofty studied the influence of cultural time values on students' resistance to writing instruction in an isolated Maine fishing community. For the new edition of Time to Write, Lofty returned to the island to consider how social and educational developments in the intervening years may have affected both local culture and attitudes toward education. Lofty discovered how the island time values that previously informed students' literacy learning have been transformed by outside influences, including technology, social media, and the influx of new residents from urban areas. Building on the ethnographic findings of the original study, the new edition analyzes the current conflict between the digital age time values of constant connections and instant communication, and those of school-based literacy. Lofty examines the new literacies now essential for students in a technologically connected world, both those who aspire to continue the traditional island work of lobster fishing, and for the many who now choose to pursue other careers and attend college on the mainland.

John Sylvester Lofty is Emeritus Professor of English Education at the University of New Hampshire and the author of Quiet Wisdom: Teachers in the United States and England Talk about Standards, Practice, and Professionalism.


". ..highly valuable … compelling and richly illustrated … a meaningful second edition. " — Kronoscope