Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Reading Like a Writer

What does reading like a writer mean?  A few things we brainstormed were:
  • You read, read, read and find authors that you love.
  • When you find the authors and books that you love, ask yourself, "Why am I gravitating towards these books?"
  • Also ask yourself, "What are the authors specific writing styles?
  • You will also want to delve into the life of the author to see why they write the way they do.  How does their life influence their writing?
  • Finally, you can "borrow" ideas from the mentors that you love in your own writing.
We read the book: Encounter by Jane Yolen together as a class.  After reading the text, we walked through five steps together:

1.  Notice something about the craft of the text.
2.  Talk about it and make a theory about why a writer might use this craft.
3.  Give the craft a name. This may be a name that does not already exist.  Make it your own.
4.  Think of other texts you know.  Have you seen this craft before?
5.  Try and envision using this crafting in your own writing.

As we read, we noticed the following about Yolen's craft:
  • point of view the author chose (written from a child's perspective)
  • strong use of simile/metaphor
  • comparisons to nature reflecting the characters experience
  • use of repetition
  • dream in the story ties the story beautifully together in the beginning, middle, and end

We discussed the book and chose to focus on the author's use of figurative language to show the young boy's perspective of what was happening in the story.  We gave the craft the name:  Nature-Perspective Comparison.  We started an anchor chart that we can refer back to when we are writing our own pieces.  We also added another story to the chart later in the day.  One Green Apple by Eve Bunting also used figurative language and strong sensory images to help the reader understand how a young girl from another country was experiencing her second day in an American school and the language barriers that she faced.  As an application in your own classroom:  As readers read their own stories during independent reading time in class, they could jot examples of specific author's craft on Post-It notes and post them around the perimeter of the anchor charts to refer back to specific examples for their writing.

A couple of resources that were suggested on this topic were:
Also, a full pdf of:  Read Like a Reader, Read Like a Writer by Steve Peha is available here:

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