The Big Book of Details by Rozlyn Linder

The Big Book of Details

46 Moves for Teaching Writers to Elaborate

By Rozlyn Linder
Foreword by Harvey “Smokey” Daniels

“The writing lessons in this book are organized to quickly unpack the detail move, explain when and why the strategy works well, share how I have taught it to my students, and offer ways to make it your own.”
—Rozlyn Linder

Have you ever told a writer to add more details, only to see their writing get longer not better? That’s why Roz Linder wrote The Big Book of Details. “To help our students use details and elaborate effectively,” she writes, “we need to find out what they want their writing to do, and then show them explicit moves to make it happen.”

Roz breaks elaboration into 5 categories and shares 46 lessons based on the moves that professional writers use. With if–then charts that connect student needs to just-right strategies, you’ll help writers master details that:

  • Describe: for people, places, and things
  • Dance: for showing action and sequencing events
  • Convince: for questions, persuasion, and arguments
  • Inform: for defining, comparing, and clarifying
  • Speak: for conversation and speech.

The Big Book of Details supports planning and on-the-go teaching for one-on-one conferences, whole-class instruction, or commercial writing programs. Its lessons are organized to help kids understand each move quickly. Roz’s strategy lessons include:

  • examples from real-world writers
  • the reason writers use the strategy
  • advice for introducing it to writers
  • ideas for guided practice with writers
  • examples of one of Roz’s famous classroom charts

“This is what I want for my students,” writes Roz Linder, “to use details in their writing in a meaningful way that conveys their ideas and their purpose.” If you want that too, then make her Big Book of Details part of your teaching toolkit.

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How Teachers Use The Big Book of Details

How Teachers Use The Big Book of Details


Part I: The Power of Details

Part II: Details that Describe: People, Places, Mood, Emotions, and Things

  1. State the Obvious
  2. Just Like That
  3. Action Clues
  4. Right in the Middle
  5. Zoom In
  6. Repeaters
  7. Pop Culture References
  8. Personify It
  9. Set It Up
  10. Thought Bubbles

Part III: Details that Dance: Showing Action and Sequencing Events

  1. Act & Think
  2. But, Why?
  3. Time Marker
  4. Location Marker
  5. Adverb Comma
  6. INGs Up Front
  7. EDs Up Front
  8. Explain that Sound

Part IV: Details that Convince: Opinions, Persuasion, and Arguments

  1. If . . .Then
  2. Opposite Side
  3. Good Question
  4. Imagine This
  5. Very Complicated
  6. Number Games
  7. Now and Then
  8. We the People
  9. Call to Action

Part V: Details that Elaborate: Defining, Comparing, and Clarifying

  1. Polar Opposites
  2. What’s Next?
  3. Sweet and Sour
  4. Big Deals and Famous Firsts
  5. Define It
  6. Name an Example
  7. A.K.A. (Also Known As)
  8. In Other Words
  9. So Important
  10. Share the Love

Part VI: Details that Speak: Conversation, Dialogue, and Speech

  1. Ending Dialogue Tags
  2. Beginning Dialogue Tags
  3. Invisible Tags
  4. Middle Tags
  5. Action & Words
  6. Say, What?
  7. Tell Me About It
  8. Talking and Thinking
  9. Mix it Up

Part VII: Moving Forward with Lesson Clusters and Classroom Ideas

  1. Lesson Clusters: Detail Moves for Targeted Writing Goals
  2. Students’ Charts: Fostering Writing Independence
  3. Classroom Ideas: Making Detail Moves “Sticky”
  4. Get Messy! Make Some Mistakes!

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