Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Reading as Writers, Writing as Readers

Writing as Readers

Students in grade 5 have been using what they know about reading to improve their writing, and using writing as a way to dig deeper into reading. 

In writer’s workshop, students recently finished a piece of memoir writing. In this, students were asked to write a piece that shows, “This is who I am.”  After several rounds of brainstorming and flash drafting, students were asked to think of themselves as a character in a book.  Students then analysed themselves much as we do a character in a book. Here are a few guiding questions that were used:

“What makes this character special and unique?” “What struggles does this character face?” “How does this character deal with adversity?” “What has the character learned through their ups and downs in life?” “What does this character want us to know about her?” “How is this character complex?” 

Students use a thought prompt to help analyse themselves in their memoirs
Through this exercise, students were better able to structure their memoirs around a theme or big idea that they wanted to share with the world. 

Reading as Writers

In reader’s workshop, students spent time analysing novels through the lens of a writer. While reading, and in discussions with partners, students asked themselves and each other questions to probe the thoughts of the author. Students used the following questions to help them:

“Why did the author include this detail, is there some greater significance to it?” “What aspect of the setting is unusual and how will that impact the novel?” “What is unique about this main character, what is the author trying to tell us about her?”  “What has the author included or left out? Where is the author trying to lead us?”  “Which supporting characters will the author use to help the main character evolve?” 

These and other questions helped guide students as they explored the theme and character development of various novels. In addition, it helps focus their own memoirs writing by employing some of the techniques used by expert writers.
Students used the question prompts to explore possible themes while they read
Student writing will be on display at our next parent session. Keep an eye out for upcoming information about that.

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