Saturday, October 1, 2011

Author Study-Adding Voice to our writing...

                            after reviewing my 3rd graders- writing benchmarks ,
I noticed that they have good ideas, mechanics, and creativity... but...something was missing ?
                                          It was their writers VOICE!
Since we were already enjoying  a Kevin Henkes (hen-kiss) author study, I decided to use our mentor texts and provide the students with examples of how authors use VOICE to make their characters more interesting and enjoyable. Thanks to I found some useful ideas and resources to help me... So here is my plan for the week.  Re-visit these 2 stories and post-it places where the characters show their colorful personalities. 

Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes
Chrysanthemum thinks her name is "absolutely perfect" until she is teased about it at school. The expressive pictures and the cruel behavior of the kids at school make this story one to read to your students when teaching them to identify authentic voice in a text.


Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes This story is a favorite for so many students!  Lilly absolutely loves school and her teacher, until he takes away her musical purse because she can't stop playing with it in class. Lilly's emotions and feelings are very expressive and make for a great book to use for teaching students to add more voice to their own stories!

emotion in writing is  one way to add more voice to a story. Stories are fun to read because the characters have a personality, the author gives the characters  VOICE by  using GREAT words to show how they feel.  I also will show & ask students while reading this week to remember to notice ( hopefully with post-its) places where authors use GOOD VOICE and share with them in class.
                                       ( I found  great worksheets)
we will use these during share time and with our buddies while REVISING.

" You Know Writing Has VOICE If?" (anchor chart)
  * It shows PerSonAliTy
  * It sounds different from everyone Else's
  * It has FeeLinGs & EmOtioNs
  * The words come to LIFE
  * It comes from the HeaRt

Step 1: Now that students understand how to improve their writing by adding more voice to their stories  they will revisit an entry in their Sourcebook( writing notebook)  to find places where they can add more voice, and emotion.
Step 2: Using sticky notes, students will find places where they can add more emotion to a scene, add more exciting dialogue, or add a character's actions to reveal a certain attitude or mood.  
The sticky notes can be placed in the story where the emotions will be inserted.
Step 3: Give students an entire writing workshop to make improvements to their existing piece of writing. They should begin to revise with their writing buddy tomorrow. Writing buddies will be looking for examples of strong voice in their piece of writing. (these steps are from
How did The Lessons Go? Evaluate:
 I often use checklists to assess student writing. Now that students are familiar with voice, an important trait of writing, they can expect that you will look for it on all future writing assignments. Can my students identify voice in writing? Are my students beginning to add more voice to their own writing?
Which students will need more one-on-one assistance?

Here are some professional books I LOVE to use for writing workshop:
6 + 1 Traits of Writing: The Complete Guide by Ruth Culham
This book provides teachers with information on the seven essential traits of good writing including ideas, organization, voice, word choice, sentence fluency, conventions, and presentation. With this book, teachers will learn how to assess student work for these traits and plan instruction.
Teaching the Craft of Writing by Lola Schaefer
You will find lessons and practical strategies in this book that will help your students identify voice in writing and learn how to include it in their own work. Students find their voices through quick-writes, author studies, guided revision practice, compare-and-contrast exercises, and more.


Maria said...

I had the same problem with my class, I'm going to try your lessons this week and see what happens. Thanks for posting this!

Meghan Mayhew said...

I love Kevin Henkes books! Thanks for sharing. I am your newest follower!

Ashleigh said...

I've always struggled getting my students to write with voice, and to be honest I think that is the area where I have the most difficulty as a writer too. The books you're using are great choices.