Thursday, February 14, 2019

#road2reading Challenge - a new mentor text for writing 2.14.19

All journeys have a starting place.
This is a weekly place to find books and tools
that you may use with readers 
at the start of their independent reading journey.
Join in the conversation at #road2reading.

When you think about writing, what is the hard stuff?  Maybe it's getting all the DETAILS right.  Maybe it's coming up with the POSSIBILITIES.  Whether you're a very young writer or one who has more experience, details and possibilities can be a challenge!

I'm always looking for mentor texts to use with students.  While many students learn by doing, so often it's the seeing and hearing part that helps with the doing.  That's the power of a mentor text - allowing young learners to see the ideas and hear the possibilities.

With the partnership of author Rebecca Kai Dotlich and illustrator Fred Koehler, we get everything.  Books that help us see, hear and do with writing.  They first helped us see the power of writing is in the DETAILS with their book One Day, The End.  Young writers could see how powerful a story can be when you put all the pieces together in this brilliant book.  Now the fantastic duo are back - and again, with a powerful writing mentor text that helps young writers to think of the POSSIBILITIES when you as the powerful question "what if...?" just to see all of the then we's that can happen!

What If...?  Then We...
written by Rebecca Kai Dotlich
illustrated by Fred Koehler
published by Boyds Mills Press

The most powerful part of the book coms at the very beginning, take a look!

When we start with a blank piece of paper there can be a million what ifs that come to mind.  Or there can be none.  But what if we lift the wall, and imagine some what ifs.  

I'm thinking of using this as an interactive activity to help generate ideas.  What if... all students start with a piece of paper at their desk and write at the top one "what if..." idea.  Then for a (set?) period of time they walk around adding a "then we..." idea.  Perhaps to make it more even there is a set of numbers along the side of the paper to ensure all "what if...." ideas get some "then we..." follow ups.  Students would then have some POSSIBILITIES to add to their writing folder.

And let's make sure we stop and talk about Fred Koehler's illustrations, the way your eyes travel to the details just to find some of the hidden possibilities.  I really enjoyed seeing how page ideas link to the next page and how different possibilities keep arising.  Just like in their first collaboration, readers will be drawn into the ideas Dotlich leaves on the page and the way Koehler makes them come alive.

Another favorite spread!  I love the details from the reflections to the gorgeous crayons on the page.  Just wait until you see this book up close - I adore the backpack and hat for the bear!  At school we talk a lot about recognizing an illustrator's work - we talk about how when we see a style that just seems unique to an illustrator.  I feel like this layout in particular is similar to Fred's artwork in his book Flashlight Night (also published by Boyds Mills).  I love when I can get kids to start recognizing an illustrator's work before I even tell them who did the pictures!

Both One Day, The End and What If...?  Then We... are mentor texts you'll want in your classroom.  They are books that you will refer to throughout the year and your readers will want to return to again and again.

Don't miss the other stops on the blog tour.

Monday, 2/11                      Simply 7 Interview
Tuesday, 2/12                      Storymamas
Wednesday, 2/13                 Librarian in Cute Shoes
Thursday, 2/14                    Mrs. Knott’s Book Nook
Friday, 2/15                         Miss Marple’s Musings
Monday, 2/18                      Bridget and the Books     
Tuesday, 2/19                      Radio, Rhythm and Rhyme
Thursday, 2/21                    KidLit Frenzy
Friday, 2/22                         Unleashing Readers
                                                Book Seed Studio

Want a copy of this fabulous book for your library?  Boyds Mills Press has generously donated a copy to a reader.  Enter by Wednesday, February 20th for your chance to win.  

1 comment:

  1. I have to say I think this will be a terrific story starter both for kids who are quite young and like to invent and tell their own tall tales or stories from the imagination and the heart AND for older writers (of any age or stripe) looking for an idea!! Bravo Rebecca Kai and Fred K.
    Janet F.