Reading fiction and reflecting on, writing about, and discussing what has been read is a great way to build reading comprehension and other reading skills, as well as deepen understanding of the various elements of fiction.
For the writer, it is a way to learn the craft by examining and analyzing the practices of others.
Read a novel or short story for fifteen to twenty minutes.
Think about what you have read.
- Make a list of things you like about a character in the story.
- Pick one trait from the list and explain why you like it.
- Explain how this trait contributed to your liking of the character.
Share your response with your reading partner, partners, or as a comment here. If you share here, please remember to include the title of the book and its author. Your “response” could prove intriguing enough that someone else might like to read that book as well.
Building Pre-readers’ Literacy Skills
Read a picture book that contains a storyline together.
Ask your pre-reader which character they liked best. Once your pre-reader has identified a character, ask what he or she liked best about that character.
Enjoy a lively “book talk” with your pre-reader!
How did it go? Please share any of your actual responses, observations, or comments. Let’s encourage one another!
Read for at least twenty to thirty minutes.
Think about what you have read.
- What is the title of the book you are reading?
- Do the plot, characters, and themes of the story seem to go well with its title?
- Why or why not?
Share your responses with your reading partners or here on the blog. If you like your book, share the title and author with your fellow readers. Someone might just be looking for a good read for a summer’s afternoon.
Read for at least twenty to thirty minutes. When you are done, think about what you have read.
How do you picture the author of this passage?
What is it about what you read that makes you picture him or her in this way?
For a little extra fun, look up your author in the library or on the internet. Was he or she anything like you expected?
Read for at least twenty to thirty minutes. When you are done, consider what you have read.
What do you think the author was intending to do when he or she wrote this passage? What is it in what you read that makes you think this?
Write or discuss your response.
Read for at least twenty to thirty minutes. While reading, be on alert for sentences you feel are particularly well done.
When you have completed your reading, skim back over the section to find those sentences that stood out and write out three of them.
For each sentence you selected, explain what you felt made it so exceptional. Write or discuss your response.
Enter your sentences here as a comment. I and your fellow readers would so love to see the gems you collected.
Aspiring authors are encouraged to “read like a writer.” As a Language Arts teacher, that was one of the concepts I was encouraged to instill in students. However, as a lover of reading, first, and as a teacher who wanted to promote a love of reading in her students, it is a concept I often resisted. When I read, I want to sit down and enjoy a book. It is my most beloved pastime, and I do not want to have to work in the little amount of time I have each day for leisure.
However, since starting my reading log, I have been inspired to use my logging process not just to celebrate my progress through the wonderful world of books, but to log like a writer. And so, I am expanding my logging process, not here in the blog, but in my writing office, to incorporate some of the practices of reading like a writer. My plan is this:
- Read all acknowledgements, introductory material, and back matter.
- Record the names of agents who represented any novels similar to mine.
- Record the names of editors who have worked on novels similar to mine.
- Update my publisher records with the title, author, and genre of the book.
I am presently in search of an agent to represent my two completed novels, and so making note of agents who have worked on similar projects can help me narrow down the pool of possibilities and submit to someone I know represents my type of writing.
Recording the names of editors and publishing houses will be useful in two ways:
- When I want to submit directly to those houses that will look at unsolicited material, I will have a name of someone interested in writing like mine.
- When I need to make a list of comparable titles for my queries, or cite a work an agent or editor worked on in crafting my query, I can have instant recall of authors and titles through my records.
As an added bonus, it makes me at least think about my reading like a writer after I have finished the book. As I make my various notations, I need to consider the strengths and weaknesses of the novel, pinpoint genre or genres, and determine if the book is truly of a caliber to which I would want my work compared.
So at last, I have graduated to the writing class! Through my logging I will practice reading like a writer, and my querying process will be supported by the foundation of targeted information I will build.