Saturday, January 9, 2016

What does it mean to read like a writer?

I have always loved reading picture books. It has always been an important part of my classroom community. When I first started teaching many many years ago, I was fortunate to participate in professional development training with Maryellen Giacobbe. I had been doing writing workshop but seeing Maryellen and listening and learning from her was amazing. I remember Maryellen talked about the importance of reading aloud to your class, she recommended that we read 4/5 picture books day. Of course from that day on I read lots of picture books to my class. I knew picture books were important, but I didn’t realize at the time why?

Years later it all came together for me when I read Katie Wood Rays Wondrous Words. Katie writes about how writers learn to write by looking and studying writing that they enjoy.

Katie refers to this as Reading like a Writer. When we read like a writer, it means that we focus less on what the author is trying to say and more on how the writer is saying it.

What kind of craft moves is the author using to get their message across? 
Are they repeating words in their stories
Are they using sound words in their writing?
What might we notice as we read like a writer?

How the author is organizing the text
The illustrations
Use of white space
Text features 
Big and Bold: Text written in bold, capital letters to express ideas
The use of repetition with words
Interesting format

 Katie gives five steps to Reading like a Writer

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.
4.    Think of other texts you know. Have you seen this craft before?
5.    Try to envision using this craft in your writing.

I think reading like a writer is so important that I hope to blog about it more in the new year. One of my goals on Joyful Learning is to write more about books I love, and how we can use books to think like a reader and think like a writer.

Although I am hoping to share ideas with a particular book, don’t feel like you need to have that book. Instead, think about the lesson and suggestions and try to find a book in your classroom that would work for you and your class.  

It is not about teaching the book, it is about teaching the reader and writer. 

Any thoughts?

Joyfully yours in reading books like a writer,

1 comment:

  1. I've read both Maryellen and Katie. They are full of such great wisdom about our early writers.


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