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Writers Read Better: Narrative
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Writers Read Better: Narrative
50+ Paired Lessons That Turn Writing Craft Work Into Powerful Genre Reading

First Edition


308 pages | Corwin

When It Comes to Reading, Writers Have an Advantage

We know that writing skills reinforce reading skills, but what’s the best way to capitalize on this beneficial relationship? By flipping the traditional “reading lesson first, writing lesson second” sequence, Colleen Cruz ingeniously helps you make the most of the writing-to-reading connection with carefully matched, conceptually connected lesson pairs. The result is a healthy reciprocity that effectively and efficiently develops students’ literacy skills.

Backed by long-term academic and field research, Writers Read Better: Narrative presents a series of 50 tightly interconnected lesson pairs that can be implemented either as a complete curriculum or as a supplement to an existing program. Each pairing leads with a writing lesson, used as a springboard for the reading lesson that will follow.

Throughout the book’s four sections, organized to help you teach tightly aligned lessons and units on reading and writing narrative, you’ll discover

  • Kid-friendly approaches to virtually every matter of craft, including symbolism, tenses, the role of first and last words, dialogue as character fingerprint, giving weight to what's important, and much more 
  • Clear guidance on the intention of each lesson, the type of narrative genre it’s ideally suited for, and step-by-step plans 
  • Sample teacher language for introducing and coaching each lesson
  • Mentor text excerpts to use as models for personal narrative, memoir, and story writing
  • Tips on building and organizing a contemporary classroom library filled with inspiring, illustrative texts, and how you can incorporate the tools, technology and media available in your classroom to make each lesson most effective
  • Sample student work, online videos and other supporting resources 

Complete with practical suggestions on adapting the lessons to suit the particular needs of your classroom as well as individual students, Writers Reader Better: Narrative offers a solid foundation for giving your students the advantage of powerful, transferable literacy skills.

 
Introduction and How to Use This Book: Preparing for aligned or complimentary units on narrative reading and writing
 
PART 1: Lessons for Generating Story/ Envisioning Characters and Settings to Boost Inference
 
Lesson 1
Writing: Write our truest selves  
Reading: Characters offer clues to authors  
 
Lesson 3
Writing: Finding freedom in the familiar character types  
Reading: Identifying archetypes to develop depth of understanding  
 
Lesson 4
Writing: Maps, photographs and songs as tools for setting creation  
Reading: Connecting setting to meaning  
 
Lesson 5
Writing: Letting characters and settings lead us to story  
Reading: Following the path of a story to understand the other elements  
 
Lesson 6
Writing: Finding important ideas in the most personal piece of our lives  
Reading: Focusing on the details of a text to uncover bigger notions  
 
Lesson 7
Writing: Studying place for stories to explore  
Reading: Making the connection between place and author’s message  
 
Lesson 8
Writing: Revising the arc to match the meaning  
Reading: Connecting the shape of the plot to the theme  
 
Digital Lessons
Writing: Choosing apps and tools to keep track of ideas for stories  
Reading: Reading stories digitally requires readers purposefully set themselves up to re-read  
 
PART 2: Lessons for Drafting a Narrative / Following plot, finding significance
 
Lesson 9
Writing: Draft fast to create energy  
Reading: Reading voluminously to build momentum  
 
Lesson 10
Writing: Drafting stand alone scenes  
Reading: Studying one scene for larger understanding  
 
Lesson 11
Writing: Deciding when to summarize  
Reading: Summarizing text to check for comprehension  
 
Lesson 12
Writing: Personal research for personal writing  
Reading: Noting when a writer uses artifacts  
 
Lesson 13
Writing: Drafting with truth in mind, leaving space for facts  
Reading: Deciphering an author’s truth and perspective  
 
Lesson 14
Writing: Drafting with perspective in mind  
Reading: Considering the author’s choice of perspective — and its effects  
 
Lesson 15
Writing: Research makes fiction believable  
Reading: Researching outside of a text can open new interpretations  
 
Digital Lessons
Writing: Choosing the best platform for your story  
Reading: The platform you are reading affects the way you interact with a story  
 
PART 3: Lessons for Revising for Meaning and Significance / Analysis and Critique
 
Lesson 16
Writing: Exploring deeper meaning in drafts in order to begin revision  
Reading: Identifying an author’s deeper meaning through re-reading and writing  
 
Lesson 17
Writing: Compelling stories thrive on conflict crafted by authors  
Reading: Identifying the scenes that point to conflict in a story  
 
Lesson 18
Writing: Craft settings that connect with character emotion  
Reading: Looking closely at settings and characters to notice a relationship  
 
Lesson 19
Writing: Stories extend and elaborate on larger ideas  
Reading: Tracking the weight of a story  
 
Digital Lessons
Writing: Revising digitally allows for powerful peer feedback  
Reading: Reading other readers' comments and notes can give you fresh lenses for the books you read  
 
Lesson 20
Writing: Increasing suspense through revision  
Reading: Spotting moves authors use to build suspense helps readers predict  
 
Lesson 21
Writing: Craft Dialogue to Match Character Personality and Uniqueness  
Reading: Dialogue can give insights into characters  
 
Lesson 22
Writing: The Narrator’s Voice Makes the Perspective Clear  
Reading: The narrator’s voice can set up a reader’s inferences and interpretations  
 
Lesson 23
Writing: Knowing the significance of a personal story can help writers to foreshadow  
Reading: Identifying foreshadowing moves in a story to help create a theme theory  
 
PART 4: Lessons for Perfecting the Prose and Purpose/ Deep Interpretation
 
Lesson 24
Designing beginnings and endings that entice and linger  
Savoring beginnings and endings  
 
Lesson 25
Fewer Words Can Make More Impact  
Considering what words are used and which are absent when interpreting  
 
Lesson 26
Using objects and other tools to give readers signposts  
Interpreting symbols … when everything can have meaning  
 
Lesson 27
Choosing and smoothing tense  
Looking to the tense for meaning clues  
 
Lesson 28
The many purposes of narrative paragraphs  
Reading narrative paragraphs on surface and inferential levels  
 
Lesson 29
Using tools to make smart spelling decisions  
Knowing an author can choose any word can help readers develop deeper understanding  
 
Lesson 30
Making publishing decisions based on the intended audience  
Judging the effectiveness of an author’s decisions  
 
For Digital Classrooms
Writing: Using digital tools to call attention to theme  
Reading: Looking across highlights, bookmarks, and notes to help identify unifying themes  

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