First, we read like readers. We talk about meaning. We talk about the story if any students have read the book. Many have. The Perks of Being a Wallflower never stays on the shelf for long.
I see several students flip to the back of their writer’s notebooks and write the title on their To Read Next lists.
Next, we read like writers. “The writer does a few things interesting in this sentence. What do you notice?” I ask.
We talk about starting a sentence with and, which leads to a discussion about sentence structure. We talk about the word infinite, which leads to a discussion about the word moment.
“What? That’s a contradiction,” someone says.
“Uh huh,” I nod and listen as little conversations bubble up around the room.
Then, from the back, a student says, “Do you see the three we’s in that sentence? Do you?”
I cannot help but grin.
You see it, don’t you?
Oh, sentences. Lovely sentences. Oh, the learning in one well-chosen sentence.
I cannot even imagine how much I would have learned TALKING about sentences all those years ago instead of diagramming them.
Do you have a favorite sentence you like to talk about with your students?
This Buzzfeed article has 51 Beautiful Sentences. I mention this piece in my post tomorrow, too. And if you haven’t visited Notable Sentences for Imitation and Creation, you’ll want to find some time to read it.
©Amy Rasmussen, 2011 – 2015
Tagged: AP English, craft study, Craft Study, mentor sentence, Mentor Texts, Readers Writers Workshop
[…] read alouds, to model thinking, to dig deep and find meaning, to teach an author’s moves, sentence structure, and more. Some of us collect them, storing them safely among other valuable collections. We keep […]
[…] plop into their mind maps. I needed to provide more guidance in annotating, and in reading for beautiful sentences, and in making thematic connections, and so much […]
What an amazing moment! I love how captured the sheer brilliance of the reader’s-writer’s workshop. Beautiful.
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My favorite texts at the sentence-level that I teach are probably Catcher in the Rye and One Hundred Years of Solitude, but I chose a book to add to my 9th grade curriculum next year specifically because it features some personal essays that will be great mentor texts, including at the sentence level! I loved how I could really hear your students in this post.
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