Reading Response Exercise #70: Getting Moody

Read

Read for at least twenty to thirty minutes.

Reflect & Write

Think about what you have read.

  • Does the story arouse any particular feelings in you?
  • Does the story make you think about what its like to feel that way?
  • How did the author do this?
  • What elements of the setting contribute to this feeling?
  • What aspects of the characters and their experiences contribute to this feeling?
  • What other characteristics of the writing contribute to this feeling?

Write/Discuss: your responses with your reading partners.

Preschool Literacy:

Read: a picture book with your preschooler.

Ask: When you are done, ask your child, “How did this make you feel?”

Discuss: Follow up by discussing what it was in the story that made him or her feel this way.

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An Exploration of Kindness: Play With Your Words Writing Prompt #51

“Kindness can become it’s own motive. We are made kind by being kind.” ~Eric Hoffer

  • Do you agree with Mr. Hoffer or disagree?
  • Can you explain the quote or show how what he’s written does or doesn’t work in real life?
  • What is kindness? Is it a motive? Does its practice generate itself?

Respond to this quote in whatever manner you like. Dig deep and share your thoughts.

When done, read what you’ve written with your writing partners or share it as a comment. Compliment one another on the strengths/likes of the prose and for the ways they may have opened your mind to look at kindness in a new way.

Preschool Literacy:

Gather writing implements and paper then sit down with your preschooler and ask “What does it mean to be kind.”

Write down all his or her responses.

When you are done, read back what he or she has said, pointing to the words as you say them to reinforce the one to one correspondence between written and spoke word.

Together go through some stickers, magazines photos and ads, your own photos, or clip art and find illustrations to go with your child’s descriptions.

Make a collage with the words and art and hang it somewhere everyone in the family can enjoy it.

Happy Birthday to Robert Burns

Whether you call him Rabbie Burns, the Ploughman Poet, Robden of Solway Firth, the Bard of Ayrshire, or simply The Bard, Robert Burns ranks among the most beloved poets of Scotland. Born in 1759, he was one of the best known poets to write in both English and the Scots language and was regarded as a pioneer of the Romantic movement in literature. To me, however, he is simply the author of A Red, Red Rose.

O, my luve is like a red, red rose,
that’s newly sprung in June:
O, my luve is like the melodie
That’s sweetly played in tune.

As fair art thou, my bonnie lass,
So deep in luve am I;
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
Till a’ the seas gang dry.

Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear
And the rocks melt wi’ the sun;
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
While the sands o’ life shall run.

And fare thee well, my only luve!
And fare thee well awhile!
And I will come again, my luve,
Tho’ it were ten thousand mile!

Sigh. I got shivers just typing in the text. Happy Birthday, Mr. Burns and thank you for your beautiful words.

Do you have a favorite Robert Burns poem? Paste it here as a comment.

Reading Response Exercise #69: Theme and Symbols

Read

Read for at least twenty to thirty minutes.

Reflect & Write

Think about what you have read so far in your book as well as what you read today. Are there any objects the author keeps working into the story or ideas she seems to be exploring? What are they? How might they relate to one another? What might the objects be symbolic of? Do you think the author has made up his mind about how he thinks and feels about these things?

Write/Discuss your responses with your reading partners.

Play With Your Words Writing Prompt #50: A Narrative Disagreement

Using the following process, write about a time you had a disagreement with someone you love:

1. Write the following headings across the top of a sheet of paper or document:

  • Who?
  • What?
  • When?
  • Where?
  • Why?
  • How?

Beneath each heading, brainstorm every fact and feeling you can recollect from the event.

2. Look over the data you have gathered and consider the situation from your beloved opponent’s point of view. Write a scene depicting this disagreement from your opponent’s viewpoint.

When done, read what you’ve written to your writing partners or share as a comment. Compliment one another on the vividness of the setting, the clarity of the emotion, effectiveness of dialogue and internal dialogue, and the intensity of the mood.

Why do Writing Exercises?

Last July, WriterMag.com introduced their own weekly writing prompt, provided by Heather Wright, author of Writing Fiction: A Hands-On Guide for Teens. For the launch, Sarah Lange interviewed Wright “about how prompts work and what inspires her.”

My favorite reason Wright cited for doing writing exercises/completing writing prompts was to “joywrite with no particular purpose other than to play with words.” Hmm. Now doesn’t that sound familiar?

In addition she uses writing prompts to help explore her fiction characters and stories, allowing the prompt to take her in a direction the straightforward writing of her tale would not include.

My own reasons for completing writing prompts? Well, like Wright, I find them fun.

But writing exercises provide more than fun. They allow you or your students to explore different types of writing. When practiced regularly they make the act of writing feel comfortable and doable, rather than scary and intimidating. And they stretch your mind and boost creativity (which is not just a frivolous skill.)

My favorite education fact is: the more a student reads or writes, the better he or she reads and writes. Reading and writing—they both build literacy.

And why not have a little fun while you do so? Watch for the new Play with Your Words prompt this Friday.

Reading Response Exercise #68: Reading Comprehension Haiku

Read for at least twenty to thirty minutes.

Reflect & Write

Think about what you have read. Write a haiku that captures what today’s reading was all about.

(For those of you whose memories need just a little jostle—a haiku is a three-line Japanese poem form that has 5 syllables in the first line, 7 syllables in the second line, and 5 in the final line.

Share/Discuss your haiku with your reading partners.

Preschool Literacy:

Read a picture book with your preschooler.

Discuss what you read.

Ask the child to help you write a poem.

Get a piece of paper and line out a three-line poem with 5 blanks in the first line, 7 blanks in the second line, and 5 in the final line. Then ask your preschooler to think of words and phrases to describe your reading and fill in the blanks until you have a poem you can read together (pointing to the words as you say them to reinforce the one to one correspondence between written and spoke word). Title the poem whatever the title of your story was and illustrate with stickers or drawings then post where everyone in the household can enjoy it.

What Could You do with a Butter Knife? Expository Play With Your Words Writing Prompt #49

Today’s expository writing prompt calls for you to use your imagination and your logical, concrete/linear thinking skills as well. Ready to stretch your brain?

What else could you do with a butter knife other than prepare food?

Could a butter knife be a tool that could help you with yard work? Housecleaning? At your desk? In building and construction work? With your car?

Suspend the scoffing voice that’s saying, “Don’t be silly.” A mark of creative people is their ability to use old things in new ways. So brainstorm—truly brainstorm. Don’t throw out any idea as too wacky. Then write a how-to article that details the many incredible uses for a butter knife.

When done, share what you’ve written with your writing partners. Compliment one another on the breadth of ideas, clarity of expression, and the organization of your writing. Share your article as comment. I know I’m not the only one who would love to discover some innovative uses for the common butter knife.

Literate Lives 2012 Update

At last! I am healthy. The Christmas decorations are put away. I’m ready for tonight’s critique group meeting, and I can actually post this update in a timely manner. (And the sun is shining outside my window—an extra bonus!)

First, I must start with apologies. Back in September I bit off a bit more than I could chew. I have been so excited about developing a Greek and Latin Roots program, that I jumped the gun and thought, “Well, I’ll just finalize each lesson as we go. With two weeks’ time between each new list, it should be a piece of cake.” Hah! What I did not take into consideration are some shifting demands on my time. Therefore, while I will continue to develop the Greek and Latin Roots program, I will not begin posting it until it is complete. I’m so sorry if I got anyone going with it, and my abandonment is an inconvenience.

What can you expect in the coming weeks? A steady stream of writing prompts and reading reflections, more teacher’s file drawer ideas, a continuation of my reading log, updates as things develop with my agent quest and new novel project, and continued opportunities to have your writing professionally critiqued/edited. I love encouraging writers!

I hope this finds you healthy and happy, and steaming forward into the new year. Let this be a year of building a literate lifestyle for ourselves, our children, and our students. Happy reading and writing!

Fiction Reading Response Exercise #67: Character “To Do” List

Alas, I am off to a slow start for 2012. After traveling and then getting sick, my “To Do” list is near overwhelming. Hence, the tardiness of this post. My apologies.

Read

Read for at least twenty to thirty minutes.

Reflect

Think about what you have read. Who is the main character or are the main characters in today’s reading? Choose one, if your reading provided options, otherwise consider your main character. What was the most important item on your character’s “to do” list in the passage you read. Did she accomplish what she set out to do? If so, how, and if not, why not? What does he need to do next in the story?

Write/Discuss: Write out your responses then share them with your reading partners.

Preschool Literacy:

Read: a picture book with your preschooler.

Discuss: Who is the main character?

Ask and Discuss: What was the most important thin the me main character needed to accomplish in the story? Did she get it done? If so, how, and if not, why not?