Thursday, December 4, 2008
The Challenge of Word Choice - 3 and up - taken from R. Culhan
Donna Labbe and Nancy Anctil demonstrate a "hook" with examples from good children's literature and lead a class discussion on what causes a reader to be "hooked" and drawn into a story.
Voice and word choice are both contributing factors.
The challenge is how to teach these skills to developing writers.
" A touch of class, a flash of elegance can make a difference between unremarkable clarity and thought so elegantly shaped that it not only fixes itself in the mind of our readers forever, but gives them a moment of pleasure when they recall it." by Joseph M. Williams
And here is our dilemma - the tight connection between word choice and voice:)
Word choice is ...about the use of rich, colorful, precise language that communicates not just in a functional way, but also in a way that moves and enlightens the reader... In good descriptive writing, strong word choice clarifies and expands ideas. In persuasive writing, it moves you to a new vision of things. In narrative writing, it creates images in your mind that are so real, you feel like you are part of the story itself.
As students learn the lingo, steer them away from exceptional, impressive vocabulary, and toward the skill to use everyday words well.
As we move to trait 4, lets reflect on how we can incorporate some work on word choice in lessons on voice. Let's consider what the role of read alouds play in this process.