When I was a teacher, story time was my favorite part of the day. My wish-list of books was a mile long and I never thought twice of extending Read Aloud just a few more minutes so that we could find out what happens next. (Who needs math class anyway, right?)
Story time was also crucial to my second favorite part of the day, Readers and Writers Workshop. I often used “mentor texts” to teach my students various skills and strategies used by our favorite authors. Being a First and Second Grade teacher, Kid Lit was the genre of choice. From DiCamillo to Dahl, Mercy Watson to Matilda, the possibilities were endless!
While I loved teaching reading and writing, a part of me always longed for the day when it would be my stories they listened to at Read Aloud, my mentor texts they studied during Readers and Writers Workshop. Well, a few weeks ago, that day finally came!
Third Graders at my school were finishing up a writing unit in which they learned about character clues – little descriptions, dialogue or scenes left by the author to help a reader get to know the characters in their story. The girls had spent several weeks combing through mentor texts to find examples of character clues, then incorporated this strategy into their own writing. (Impressive, right?!)
At the end of the unit, the teachers thought it would be fun for the girls to meet a real-live-author and look for character clues in their real-live story. That’s where I come in! (Because I’m a real-live-author now!)
I jumped back into teacher mode and put together a writing lesson that introduced the class to my Game Face girls. But, rather than simply telling the students about my characters, I read them strategic scenes from the four manuscripts that were full of clues.
The goal (or teaching point, in fancy lesson planning terms) was to see if the students picked up on my clues and, most importantly, understood their meaning. Talk about pressure! Well, guess what? They did! (Phew!)
I don’t know what I loved most – the pride I felt in sharing my soon-to-be-published work or the pride I felt in my former students who had become such talented readers and writers! Either way, this was one story time I won’t soon forget!
Want to book an author visit? Call me!