Writing About Reading: Digging Deeper into Fiction Reading and Writing

I LOVE this "mini" writing unit so much...my students are just having a great time working on our writing menu!  I typically do this project with a historical fiction unit I teach, but it could totally be done with any fiction unit. I am particularly proud of how well they are taking my minilessons and applying them to what we are doing.  I always tell my students that good students take the ideas taught to them and try them out--even if they aren't perfect.  All we want is for them to try!  I wrote a more detailed blog post last year about this unit and you can read about it by CLICKING HERE.
Writing about reading, point of view, compare and contrast, event study, characters, writing about characters, comparing and contrasting characters, historical fiction, creative writing, providing evidence, writing paragraphs, writing process

Comparing and Contrasting Characters

I thought I'd share a few snapshots of my students in action THIS year!  We have two items off our menu that are required...where we compare and contrast two characters (we worked on creating venn diagrams and then crafted two paragraphs where we worked on clear topic sentences, details, transition words and phrases, and a conclusion).  This is a great way for students to see the benefit of PLANNING using organizers to help them with their writing!  This ties so nicely to many of our writing units--we want students to state a "claim" or a thesis and then prove it with detailed evidence from the text.

Writing from Different Points of View

Our second required task is where we pick one key "turning point' event in our book and write about it from two key characters' points of view.  Today we worked back in our book clubs (we are all writing about our book club books) to do some brainstorming!  Groups worked to generate a list of 4-6 key events and the characters they felt could "tell" the story.  Tomorrow we begin drafting our "mini" stories.  We used our books and our reader's notebooks to go back and track our thinking--and eventually had everyone pick THE event they felt most compelled to write about.  This is a perfect way for students to not only recognize points of view, but also to practice digging back into a text for evidence.  This is a great way for students to really have some great discussions about which events in their books are truly the most important and impactful--and for them to recognize that different characters really do see things differently in a story...and that can really influence how they act.
Writing about reading, point of view, compare and contrast, event study, characters, writing about characters, comparing and contrasting characters, historical fiction, creative writing, providing evidence, writing paragraphs, writing process

Writing about reading, point of view, compare and contrast, event study, characters, writing about characters, comparing and contrasting characters, historical fiction, creative writing, providing evidence, writing paragraphs, writing process

Creative Writing and More!

What else are we doing?  During our reader's and writer's workshop, students are selecting from reading and working off the writing menu.  The hum of activity in the classroom is so much fun! Some are making cartoons...others are sketching key scenes and writing powerful captions.  I love that this unit allows for some creativity--and students REALLY respond.

Here a student is creating a story "map" to help him plan out a cartoon that represents a key section of his book...
Writing about reading, point of view, compare and contrast, event study, characters, writing about characters, comparing and contrasting characters, historical fiction, creative writing, providing evidence, writing paragraphs, writing process
Here a student is working on her final version of her compare/contrast project.  This project is a perfect way to combine paper and pencil AND technology.
Writing about reading, point of view, compare and contrast, event study, characters, writing about characters, comparing and contrasting characters, historical fiction, creative writing, providing evidence, writing paragraphs, writing process
One of the students' favorite activities on the menu is being able to pretend they are one of the characters and to write a diary as if they WERE that character living the experiences of the book.  Talk about deepening understanding!
Writing about reading, point of view, compare and contrast, event study, characters, writing about characters, comparing and contrasting characters, historical fiction, creative writing, providing evidence, writing paragraphs, writing process
One of my students' favorites is writing a series of diary entries from a secondary character's point of view.
This menu writing is such a nice break from big huge drawn out projects!  I usually have this unit last about a week and a half.  A few years ago I wrote it up...and it became a best seller of mine!  Here it is if you are interested in taking a peek.
Writing about reading, point of view, compare and contrast, event study, characters, writing about characters, comparing and contrasting characters, historical fiction, creative writing, providing evidence, writing paragraphs, writing process
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Writing about reading, point of view, compare and contrast, event study, characters, writing about characters, comparing and contrasting characters, historical fiction, creative writing, providing evidence, writing paragraphs, writing process

2 comments

  1. This looks great! I love everything you do for math and I just added this to my cart! We are working on literary essays right now in reading based on our class read aloud (Maniac Magee) and book club books from our Civil Rights study. Looking forward to checking out more of your spin on things!

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