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