Mentor Texts That Inspire Notebook-like Writing...

Sep 18, 2009 by

The following children’s books all feature notebook-like writing: Share...

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Importance of Read Aloud

Sep 16, 2009 by

A good writing program includes the use of good literature.  Before a child is ever able to independently use specific writing skills and strategies, s/he is able to listen to and identify these qualities in good literature through read- aloud experiences.  Read aloud serves more than just to entertain our students.  It is used to build a strong sense of community which is important in a classroom where children will be asked to take risks in their writing.  It also serves as a model for what good writing looks and sounds like.  By closely examining what good writers do, we and our students can begin to internalize these techniques and employ them in our own writing.   It is important to remember, however, that first and foremost, a book should be read aloud to be...

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Reading Like a Writer

Sep 16, 2009 by

When we read with the eyes and ears of a writer, we focus less on what the writer is trying to say and more on how the writer is saying it. Specifically, we look at the craft moves the writer makes to get his or her message across and the way those moves affect us as readers.  When we notice an author’s intentional use of craft we have a window into the mind of the writer and we can begin to teach our students how to use these techniques in their own writing and stand on the shoulders of professional writers. What might we notice as we read like a writer?  Here are just a few techniques used by professional authors: Repetition: repeating a word or a phrase The Power of Three: three words...

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Selecting Mentor Texts

Sep 16, 2009 by

With so many books filling the shelves of bookstores and libraries, how do we begin to select the right mentor texts for our mini-lessons?  The truth is, there isn’t just one right text that will do the trick.  As Katie Wood Ray explains in  Wondrous Words, writing style is individual but it is not unique.  In other words, a close look at the writing of many different authors reveals that authors use the same techniques or crafts.  As we begin to “read like a writer” we notice that there are more similarities than differences.  While there is not one right mentor text for each craft we hope to teach, some texts are obviously more effective than others.  Below is some criteria that can aid in selecting mentor texts (Nia, 1999 and Wood, 1999): Picture...

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Mentor Text Websites

Sep 16, 2009 by

Mentor Texts for the Traits of WritingThis site lists picture books that can be used to model each of the traits of good writing. Suggested grade levels and teaching ideas are included. Picture Book of the DayEach day this site features a new picture book that can be used to teach the six traits of good writing. Includes a one-sentence summary, an excerpt from the book, and 6-trait mini-lesson suggestions. Book Savors: Reading Like a WriterEvery day or two the writer of this blog posts another picture book, gives a summary, and then lists several of her “noticings” or “savorings”, as she calls them, about the author’s use of craft. Two Writing TeachersTwo writing teachers reflect and blog about the teaching of writing and bring other writing teachers together to share ideas and stretch...

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Teachers as Writing Mentors

Sep 15, 2009 by

As important as it is for students to be introduced to mentor authors, I think it is even more important that they see us, their teachers, as writing mentors.  In his book What a Writer Needs  (1993), Ralph Fletcher begins with the importance of writing mentors.  He says mentors to young writers have certain things in common.  A mentor… Has high standards Encourages students to take risks Builds on strengths Looks at the big picture Values originality and diversity Is passionate From among these, Fletcher says passion remains the most important quality the mentor has to offer. I would like to add one more item to Fletcher’s list:  a writing mentor models his or her own writing.  As important as it is for our students to find professional writers  to serve as their mentors,...

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