Sunday, February 07, 2010

Reading as a Writer

Like many writing teachers, I use mentor texts in my work as "models" of writing.  So often, we remember a great book or a great beginning or a great ending.  And we encourage writer's to emulate that in their own writing.

But emulate what? Sometimes I don't think we spend enough time dissecting why something worked (or why it didn't!)

I like the notion in this blog post of developing "x-ray reading skills" to improve writing:

"I've come to believe that writers see things in texts that are invisible to others. Moreover, I have a theory that the best writers are the best readers, possessed with a kind of X-ray vision that allows them to peer through the surface of a text, to see the machinery whirring underneath."

He goes on to share the opening two paragraphs from a novel and prompt us to answer the questions: "Why and how does this passage work?"

A great model for working with  mentor texts.  A great model for using blogging with our students.

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