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Classic Short Stories–Some Spooky Ones for October!

This is a link to “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson.
Good choice for our Reading Road Trip this month. This website has a lot of classic short stories. Enjoy!

Some other choices: The Monkey’s Paw, or the Tell-Tale Heart.

These are some of my FAVORITES! :0

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Finding Your Way in Reading

When you can read something, and understand it, you gain power–access to knowledge, access to the entire world. It frustrates us when we read something and it becomes “word soup.” It happens to all of us–even me. But, I have the skills to help myself understand most of what I read, and that’s what I’m going to help you all do, too.

There are three basic levels to reading:

Frustration Level: Nothing makes sense — you can’t connect to the text in any way. It might as well be written in another language that you don’t know.

Instructional Level: It makes sense when someone guides you through it, you learn more about the background of the information, you start to see how it makes sense to you, and, as a result of the help, you increase your vocabulary, background knowledge and expands your mental world.

Independent Level: You can read and understand this all on your own. As you grow older, and read more, your independent level naturally increases. Continued reading just beyond your independent level is important — you need to stretch your mind. Getting older by itself doesn’t work–you must keep reading, too.

There are 7 Keys to Reading Well:
(From the book, “7 Keys to Comprehension: How to Help Your Kids Read It and Get It!” by Susan Zimmerman and Chryse Hutchins, Three Rivers Press, copyright 2003.)

1. Create mental images — see what’s happening in your mind. Imagine the book as if it’s a movie.
2. Use your background knowledge — you know more than you may think; what do you know? Make any connection to what you know, no matter how insignificant or small you think it is.
3. Ask questions. That simple — ask questions. Listen to the answers. Ask all three levels of questions you’ve been taught.
4. Make inferences — what do you think might happen, based on what you know so far?
5. Determine the most important ideas or themes: You can use text features, such as headlines, and subheads, chapter titles, etc. to help you.
6. Synthesize information: Ask yourself, “So what?” What is the real meaning, the important meaning, or the main idea of this text? It works for both informational and narrative texts.
7. Use fix-up strategies: Remember when we talked about “metacognition?” It means “thinking about your thinking.” Do you know when you get lost? How do you get back? It’s the same with reading. Re-read, slow your pace, stop and think about your purpose for reading–are you looking for clues about a character? Trying to find out about the sun’s chemical composition? What vocabulary is challenging you?

We are going to work on all of these this year, in varying ways. Before you know it, you won’t even think about the ‘strategies’ you’re using, you’ll just do them automatically, and be a better reader!

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Everyone has a story to tell…

What is narrative writing?
According to Mr. Kramer (see link below), “At a minimum, narrative denotes writing with (A) set scenes, (B) characters, (C) action that unfolds over time, (D) the interpretable voice of a teller — a narrator with a somewhat discernable personality — and (E) some sense of relationship to the reader, viewer or listener, which, all arrayed, (F) lead the audience toward a point, realization or destination.”

In other words, narrative writing is a writer telling a story to an audience. It’s an attempt to share an experience. When we brainstormed and shared-out in class on Friday, every single one of you “got it.”

We’re starting narrative writing. We will go through the writing process, and in the process use the six traits to make our writing better.


The end product:
A two-page, double spaced (format paragraph), 12-pt. Times or Ariel font story.
Headline can be up to 16 pt. any font you choose.
Your NCPD must be single-spaced, left hand margin, 12 pt. Times or Ariel.

*You must include the line of text that is in italics on your print somewhere in your story.

The Writing Process

  • Pre-write and brainstorming: Gather ideas
  • (First) Draft: Organize your ideas in a sequence you wish your story to be told.
  • Revise: Use the six traits to improve your writing: Use VOICE for your personality; use SENTENCE FLUENCY for varying lengths of sentences, transitions and flow; use CONVENTIONS to make sure there are no grammatical, spelling or punctuation errors; use WORD CHOICE to make sure you don’t repeat the same words and use language to make your story more vibrant; use IDEAS to focus your story on a central, dynamic theme; use ORGANIZATION to make your story “stick together” and “make sense.”
  • Very helpful hint: Have your parent read your story out loud to you. Ask them not to correct it as they read. You need to hear how your writing sounds and try to improve it. If you need advice, then they can help.
  • Be prepared to share your story in our Writer’s Workshop.
  • Edit: We will use the Writer’s Workshop model and have others read our papers to check for errors, and constructive comments.
  • Publish: Your final story will be in a very specific format. There are many reasons to have this format. Follow the guidelines and demonstrate that you can follow instructions. You want your hard work to be its best.

Calendar of Writing:

October 1-5: Draft, Revise

October 8-12: Revise, Edit, Publish

October 15: Final work will be available for students in a printed-out form.