As with other genre studies, we devote a handful of days to "reading like a writer," noticing craft strategies in a few touchstone texts and trying these strategies with our own work-in-progress.
In this stage, we begin to study published memoirs more closely, looking at the ways in which the memories are assembled, or crafted. We choose 1-2 touchstone texts and dissect them, noticing the intentional decisions the writers made and their effects on us as readers.
Below is a noticing chart (STILL TO COME) created while looking closely at ____. When we read like writers, we not only notice the exact words of the text but also try to name what the author is doing and hypothesize why he/she chose to write the memoir in this way. This helps us become more discriminant in choosing craft strategies for our own texts.
Notice that several of the sample minilessons in this tutorial can work in more than one place in the unit. For example, a minilesson on dialogue might appear during this craft/reading like a writer phase (before drafting) or during revision (after drafting). In this tutorial we have placed the lesson in both places to remind you that you can choose where this lesson best fits in your classroom. This may be true of other lessons as well, because many good revision lessons are actually based on craft observations.
Notice, too, that many minilessons here can work in other genres. A lesson in dialogue might be repeated in a fiction unit, for example. Demonstrating the same strategy—with or without increasing complexity—can help the strategy firmly take root in young writers' repertoire.
Review the sample minilesson on dialogue below (STILL TO COME). Try writing some dialogue in your notebook that might fit into your evolving memoir.
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