Friday, June 20, 2014

Teaching Writing!

I have been reading Wondrous Words by Katie Wood Ray. This is a great book about teaching kids to be successful at and enjoy writing.  

Part of the process is learning to read books like a writer.  

A topic that appears to be a long ways from both these concepts is that fact that my son challenged me to read Shoeless Joe by W.P. Kinsella.  So for those of you who aren't from Iowa and aren't baseball fans this is the book that the movie Field of Dreams was based on back in the 80's. Being from Iowa and actually having visited the Field of Dreams I decided to give the book a try.

Now I feel as if I should say this up front, I am not a fan of baseball.  I can take it or leave it!  That said I was pleasantly surprised by this novel. Not only did I enjoy the story from a reader's point of view, I also discovered some great things to share with my students from a writer's point of view.

I found many examples of how this novel could be used to help teach students about writer's craft. One type of writer's craft that Katie Wood Ray shares in her book is "Super Ellipses". Those are the three dots in a row. They can be used to show continuation, transition, or the lack of words to describe something. On page 14 in Shoeless Joe Kinsella writes: "It must of been... It must of been like..." But I can't find the words.

Writers also use a close echo effect.  This style of writing as described by Katie Wood Ray is when an author repeats words or phrases close together when it is not necessary and creates an echo effect.  On page 25 of Shoeless Joe Kinsella writes: The process is all so slow, as dreams are slow, as dreams suspend time like a balloon hung in midair. 

Now keep in mind you will only share bits and pieces as this is a novel for adults. If your students are interested in the topic here are books that I found that would be appropriate for students to read: Shoeless Joe and Me by Dan Gutman, Shoeless Joe & Black Betsy by Phil Bildner and C.F. Payne, and Shoeless: The Life and Times of Joe Jackson by David L. Fleitz.

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