Drill 1: We Read Like Readers AND Writers! Day 3

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SWBAT practice reading like writer.

Big Idea

Writers read to evaluate an author's craft.


5 minutes

We'll start off with a quick review of the story. Many times I like to include something fun for an activating, but since this lesson is a little lengthy, and no new information is really being introduced today, I just want to jump right in. Luckily, in the last lesson we read through the story once, so today should go much faster.

What were some of your favorite parts of the story as a reader?

I'll give the kids some time to chat about this with their partners before they share their ideas. 


10 minutes

Since we've already read page 8 together, I just want to review the 6 traits that are provided for an example on that page. Page 6 of Peha's document gives a great review. This is probably going to be much more difficult for the kids to do. I am not looking for perfect responses here. We have the rest of the year to master evaluating the author's craft. I just want them to understand that this is an entirely different type of reading, but when we do it, we learn to see things differently about the text. These are the skills needed to get our students thinking about the common core standards that ask them to consider multiple viewpoints and the reasons author's include certain information. 

I'll just read through the examples given on page 8, but I want my kids to understand that their thoughts won't be the same as these. The author of the document mentions parallelism. My students would never notice this, nor do I expect them to in 5th grade. When I model my think aloud for page 12, I'll give them some more 5th grade appropriate ideas. 

Group Reading

10 minutes

Like in the last lesson, you'll read through to page 11 and take notice of the "Like a Writer" notes on the right side. Place a check next to things you noticed or agreed with while reading. You are not expected to think just like this, but these examples give you an idea of how each trait is evaluated. You can use page 6 from Peha's handout to help you remember the 6 traits.

I'm going to expect my students just to try their best. This is going to be new and uncomfortable for many of them. It's a great start for a discussion about how our brains read, however, so I want them to struggle for a little bit. Here, you can see that this task is much more difficult for them already. 

I'll be providing a lot of rubric usage this year so the kids can repeatedly evaluate writing. The better they are at this, the better their writing will be. Here is a website where the kids can score pieces of writing, but it's not 6 traits aligned. I used one from education northwest, but that has been removed. It looks like the site is gearing up for the CCSS focus.  I've seen programs that were purchased that were a little bit better, but scoring does help quite a bit. This is also great for showing them annotations on other pieces of writing. 


30 minutes

It's time to finish reading the story. The rest of the time is for you to re-read and write down your thoughts as a writer. Remember that you read through this once yesterday, so today you'll just look through with your writer lenses on. I don't expect this to be perfect. Actually, I expect this to be awful. When we finish up, I want you to tell me truthfully what was the hardest part about this and how we can work together to help you improve this year. 

Here you can see just how hard this was for my kids. We'll be working a lot on this throughout the year. 



5 minutes

I'm sure the kids are going to struggle with this activity, even in groups. I plan to stop them when the room seems to get close to frustration. I'm expecting that they'll start getting frustrated by the third page or they'll just start writing meaningless information.  I want them to get something out of this. It's helpful to really think through what we're doing with the kiddos and have an idea of where they're going to struggle already. Otherwise, we can lose a lot of time and make the kids hate learning. I've found there's a special place right between struggle and frustration that makes the kids excited about learning information that will help them improve. 

What was so hard about this? What do we need to do to help you grow in this area? Why is it important to be able to read like a writer?

I want the kids to have some time to answer these questions in their groups. Then we'll share thoughts and have some big discussions around reading like a writer. Here were some of their thoughts. I really laughed and made sure I typed their responses verbatim.