What do you love to do? What do you think you are really good at? All of us recognize our strengths and believe in what we can do. The thing that you are good at is probably something that you enjoy doing often.
Stop for a moment and think about something that you believe you are good at or at least have some level of fluency or mastery. You probably had an excellent model who taught you how to do what you feel you are good at. This individual may have encouraged you, inspired you, and believed in you.
The first time you tried playing baseball perhaps you were unsure and nervous. When it was your turn to bat, did you hit a homerun or strike out? With practice you improved upon the sport. Your coach shared tips with you and encouraged you. You practiced daily. Soon you became stronger and more confident.
Who taught you how to bake a great loaf of bread? Perhaps you watched and learned at first. Then an experienced baker showed you how to measure all of the ingredients needed and how to work with the yeast. You were taught how to kneed the bread, shape the loaf and how long to bake it.
Like many of you, I learned how to ride a bike as a kid. I have a memory of riding a bicycle for the first time without training wheels when I was five years old. I've always enjoyed riding my bike. Sure I knew how to ride a bike. At least I thought I did. However, my husband Perry taught me and inspired me to be a better cyclist.
Riding together, Perry modeled for me. The rules of the road were explained to me. Perry taught me the importance of staying hydrated and fueled. Words of encouragement were shared. He helped me to improve my form on a bike. Together we buildt my stamina and over time I have achieved many 50+ mile bike rides with Perry. It's been a journey and continues to be.
Writing is a journey. Becoming a published author is a journey. A writer learns through great models by using mentor texts that model great writing.
Never hesitate to imitate another writer. Imitation is part of the creative process for anyone learning an art or craft. Bach and Picasso didn't spring full-blown as Bach and Picasso; they needed models. This is especially true of writing.
Mentor texts have power to help a writer grow. Studying great picture books before writing is what I did during the month of March for Research for Reading Month ReFoReMo with Carrie Charley Brown. Many of you, too, participated in this first annual writing challenge.
I now have a better sense of reading picture books with a purpose and studying them while looking at the entire book page by page from cover to cover. Studying these high quality, currently published picture books as models are encouraging me to be a stronger, better writer. I no longer just read quality picture books I study them.
Here is an example of how I now study picture books:
The Right Word Roget and His Thesaurus
By: Ben Bryant
Illustrator: Melissa Sweet
Ages 7 +
Genre: Creative nonfiction/Biography
Published by: Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, 2014
Grand Rapids, Michigan
2015 Caldecott Honor Book
2015 Sibert Medal Winner
2105 Orbis Pictus Honor Book and many more
|The Right Word Roget and His Thesaurus
- Beautiful, unique illustrations created with watercolor, collage and mixed media that depict imagery of classification and scientific illustrations. Old botanicals and vintage papers are used throughout the book.
- A picture of a page from Roget's orginal word book is included.
- Illustrations and page layouts contribute to the story line.
- The Back Matter includes: List of Principal Events [timeline], Author's Note, Illustator's Note, Selected Bibliography, a section For Further Reading and Sources.
- The endpapers list Roget's thousand words with abbreviations.
- The author shares with the reader Peter Mark Roget's childhood, his precocious intellect, his nervous habits and much more through the drama and contradictions and historical details of Roget's fascinating life until his death in 1869.
- Some pages are written as a columns depicting lists that Roget kept in his notebooks.
- Story is written in a lyrical text.
- Speech bubbles are used to support the text.
- Rich vocabulary acquisition for students.
|Page on right is written as a column.
Consider using great picture books that model great writing. Great picture books are excellent mentors that teach a writer to be a better writer. Do you read picture books to become a better writer? How do you read and study great picture books?
Happy Easter to you and your family.
|An Easter Treat for You!