Finally, because I anticipated the participants would ask--especially if I showed them excerpts from two chapter books first--, I showed how analyzing mentor texts could impact primary writers' drafts too. 

An amazing text!
My mentor text of choice for our third activity: All the Places to Love by Patricia MacLachlan.  This beautiful picture book will always make my top ten list of bext mentor texts you can use.  It's both the story of special places and special days, and students can always be asked to write about those topics.  After students have a draft on one of those topics, put it away for a while!  In the gap, read and re-read All the Places to Love several times.  Read it first "As a reader," which means read it to comprehend and enjoy it.  Next, read it "With a Writer's Eyes," which means read it to analyze the writer's skills.  There are so many skills MacLachlan uses that it's hard to pinpoint the best three to put on  my analysis post-it:

In the actual Olympics, often the gap between the gold medal winner and the bronze medal winner is just a fraction of a second.  When analyzing MacLachlan's skills against each other, it feels like they're mostly equal skills, but you've got to challenge your writers--even the young ones--to decide on one of those skills that they feel really shines the most. 

Once students have made that choice, the instruction becomes clear: "When you revise today, you need to try to add the 'gold medal skill' to your sentences."   You can see how that instruction has an impact on the following students' revised drafts about favorite places:

Click here to open/print these primary samples.

And that concludes the three activities I did at this year's Nevada Reading Week.  I can't wait for next year.  Perhaps, there'll be less snow a year from now!



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