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Chapter 8: Moving Writers Forward

I'm a week behind on our book study, but I think I have some good excuses for thinking about things other than school and Writer's Workshop! (See THIS POST from Friday!)

Chapter 8 of Talking, Drawing, and Writing really gets into the sort of writing lessons I have in second grade.  Here are some of the lessons they model:
  • Making Sure the Story Makes Sense
  • Writing About What's Important
  • Time and Place
  • Being Specific
  • Revision
  • Topics
  • Proofreading
  • Conventions: Attending to the Mechanics of Writing
  • Beginnings, Endings, and Titles
  • Making the Characters Come Alive
This chapter is jam packed!

As I read this chapter, I realize the common factor of all these mini-lessons:
Mentor texts!   

Here are most of the books mentioned in this chapter:  (Each image is a link to Amazon to find out more about the book, if interested!)

Here are some of the things I've noticed about these books:
  1. Most of the books are the same books listed in Chapter 4 (See THIS link for the Chapter on The Craft of Drawing.)  This suggests that most books have been read to the class more than once, and the children know the stories well.
  2. Many of the books are by the same authors.  This suggests the authors of Talking, Drawing, and Writing talk about authors frequently, and the children need to think of themselves as authors as well.  Authors learn from each other!
  3. The topics of these books are near and dear to the hearts of most children.  They can relate to pets, siblings, and family adventures.  These are the same things children write about.
The authors also used children's work as examples in their mini-lessons.  I do this quite frequently in my classroom as well.  In fact, these are the three places that serve as models for mini-lessons:

  1. Mentor texts.
  2. Children's work.
  3. The teacher's personal writing, either written before the lesson or modeled during the lesson.
I highly recommend having several picture books the class is VERY familiar with, so when you're teaching a mini-lesson, you can simply mention the book, or show a page, and the children will know just what you're talking about!  The ones Martha Horn and Mary Ellen Giacobbe use are wonderful examples, but you can do the same with some of your own favorites.  Here are some of my favorites:

Any book can be used as a mentor text as long as it is quality literature.  
Most books can be used to teach a variety of lessons on the craft of writing. 
Which ones are your favorites?

It's not too late to grab this book!

Be sure to drop by Teaching With Grace for more comments on this chapter!

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