October 13, 2014
Little Red Writing
by Joan Holub
is a must-have book to encourage narrative writing in young children. From the beginning, my attention was captured. Like a mystery, clues are interspersed throughout the story. Melissa Sweet’s
mixture of fonts, mediums, and cartoon frames create added action and intensity to a rather predictable fairy tale. As a mentor text, you will be able to teach story elements while Little Red is exploring her story. As a fractured fairy tale, this book creates a great compare/contrast lesson with the actual fairy tale. It is an example of how children can also gain ideas for their own stories from books.
The play on words is brilliant. Each scene, short but with depth, creates the opportunity for discussion about narrative basics, tension, balanced description, and focus. The element of surprise brings a twist to a rather known fairy tale.
I must say, I wondered if Ruth Ayres had collaborated with Joan Holub. At the end, Little Red’s teacher encourages her to “Write On!”, a phrase I hear Ruth extending to us all.
Have fun reading this tale!
Savorings for reading and in writing for Little Red Writing:
- Story elements
- Types of genre on the same subject
- Compare/Contrast texts
January 30, 2012
Emily Gravett uses her illustrations to lure her readers in. The soft, puppy with the leash in his mouth makes any dog-lover go, “Awe” and want to read more. Cat lovers, listen up. This book will be one you will enjoy too. It will springboard for you as well.
The simpleness yet carefully paired dogs, in the book called Dogs, is a natural text to teach compare and contrast. It promotes a structure children can duplicate with topics they know.
All through the text, the narrator shares her love for dogs. On my first read, I assumed the narration to be one character and was very surprised in the end. I can’t spoil it. You will have fun, I guarantee. Your students will be sharing stories and Dogs will provide a catalyst for writing at any grade level. Have fun. I’d love to hear your classroom stories.
View Emily Gravett’s author videos at Reading Rockets. There are ten short, worthwhile videos (each 1 to 3 minutes in length). She talks about how she began her writing, illustrating, and even reads one of her books, Monkey and Me. Coming from the United Kingdom, your students will enjoy hearing her accent and learning about this read author. I also highly recommend checking her website out. She has activities for children and background on her books. There is even a contest linked with her book, Again. Children can write to her.
Another 1.5 minute video shows Emily drawing process.
Emily shows children how she illustrates a book for another author with her newest book, Cave Baby.
Savorings for reading and writing for Dogs:
- Repeating Structure
- surprize ending
- Expert topic to use as a mentor text
July 30, 2011
I love the imagination that springs from this text. Two young boys. Two favorite toys. One ultimate challenge.
Shark vs. Train shares the imaginative play of two boys, challenging each other to a competition. Depending on the setting, either the shark dominates the train or visa-versa. Tom Lichtenheld begins with showing two boys playing with their toys that evolves into the full-page visualization of the imaginative play. Chris Barton shows the importance of the story setting effect with conflict. You get a great sense of perspective too.
Tammy and I shared this book at the AllWrite!!! Summer Institute this past June. My friend, Tammy, explained that after reading this book to her first grade class, students began creating their own books with two objects challenging the other. The mentor text provides a springboard for students to practice perspective even at a young age. We first were introduced to this text by our friend, Ruth, on TwoWritingTeachers.
Savorings for reading in and writing for Shark vs. Train:
- Onomatopoeia – lots of sounds that young boys use
- Compare/Contrast – who is tougher
- Every day events – imagination with toys
- Speech Bubbles
June 20, 2011
Among the concrete buildings, a young boy finds a small island of wildlife. As the river runs through the concrete embankments, a small marsh hides around a telephone pole. Ted Rand paints the beauty within the noisy city. The boy and a few nature lovers observe with admiration. How did such wildlife of ducks and birds come to be? A flashback of the wilderness history is painted in their thoughts in the book, Secret Place.
Eve Bunting uses her storytelling gift to warm every nature-lover’s heart. The “secret place” allows for a spotlight of hope, life and peach within the bustle of the busy city. The book will open the reader’s eyes to the nature that surrounds him/her.
Savorings for reading and in writing for Secret Place:
- Setting Lead
- Repeating Line – “in the heart of the city where I live“
- Compare/Contrast – noise of the city versus the noise of the secret place
- Figurative Language – similes, personification
- Sensory Description