I think it is so important to allow students to pursue their own interests and theories about the world. When they embark on a writing assignment of any kind, they need to have both purpose and audience in mind. It is important to have that target audience in order for a piece of writing to have voice. The mentor texts are the books that help students find their own voice. Before our young writers compose text, they must be immersed in transacting with texts that can serve as models for the ones we hope they will write. Of course, the writer's notebook is an essential tool for topic selection, collection of information, and experimentation with formats. The final key is reflection, the component used throughout the writing process - like the glue that firmly cements all the pieces together. Nonfiction writing takes a long time. Most of us need to develop a level of expertise with our topic before we ever think about writing, Students can find appropriate material in the classroom, the school library, the local library, and other places as well. Teach students how to conduct an interview. Often, fine threads of writing come from firsthand accounts, family history stories, and knowledge of experts we can seek out and question,
1/9/2012 03:28:55 am
I agree that nonfiction writing happens AFTER building expertise. So often we separate reading and writing. As a result, our writing falls flat. As a writer, I need to read and read and read until I am bursting with expertise. Then I am ready to write. If it weren't for mentor authors I would be empty of thought staring at a blank page.
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