Developing reading and writing connections is the purpose of mentor texts. This lesson focuses on the voice in writing. In order to develop voice, students must experiment with a variety of literary styles and techniques. Explicit instruction on the use of literary devices impacts the quality of student writing.
My lesson begins with a video viewing of ▶ Wemberly Worried. I like to use this mentor book written by Kevin Henkes to teach voice as a writing trait to my students. Voice is one of six traits that I think is important in writing, along with ideas, organization, word choice, sentence fluency, and conventions. The mentor book, Wemberly Worried demonstrates the author's effective use of voice through inner dialogue throughout the story.
I show students my Voice Flip Chart to introduce the technical elements of voice when used as literary device. We discuss the purpose of voice and how to apply it to students' writing. The flip chart shows several examples of books my students have read that exemplifies strong voice. It is important to use familiar reading material so that students can refer to prior knowledge to build on when learning new knowledge. Students will also need guidance at this introductory stage to focus building and strengthening their use of literary techniques and devices to develop voice. The teacher's role is to assist students in editing and revising to practice forming these skills.
I begin by examining a List of Voice Emotions that i distribute to students. We discuss some characteristics of voice and what it may look like in text in order to portray the emotion that is on the list of voice. We go back to the story of Wemberly Worried and I model voice analysis using a graphic organizer. We reread the story for the purpose of identifying how the author creates the feeling of anxiety or worry throughout the book. We cite examples and plot them on our Voice Graphic Organizer so we can visualize the author's craft and structure for developing voice.
I model writing a personal narrative that focuses on an emotion from the List of Voice Emotions distributed. I wrote about how I look forward to my trip to Disney World this summer. Students assisted my by suggesting ways that I can portray excitement in my voice. We begin by writing:"So many places to visit, so little time ! The Magic Kingdom, Epcot, MGM are such magical sites. I can't wait to venture out and experience the wonder !" Then, I drew a picture to illustrate these sentences above the words like a page in a book.
Students also analyze other examples of mentor texts that provide concrete examples of voice. I gather books suggested from websites.
Students work in pairs to brainstorm ideas and make a writing plan to create a story showing effective use of voice. I distribute a SIX TRAITS WRITING RUBRIC and tell students to focus on the voice section of the rubric to guide their writing. We discuss the mentor books and how the author's feelings and personality shows through. I encourage students to analyze how they react to stories they read. Do they make you feel sad ? Laugh? Mad ? They would want to write in a way that draws out one of those emotions to their readers as well.
Each partner shares their writing to the class through an oral presentation. Communicating knowledge gained is essential to Common Core since reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills work cohesively. It is also important for students to share their strengths and receive support from their classmates to problem solve areas of weakness.