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The Art of Teaching Writing

25 Nov

Most of my job this year is teaching writing. It is one of my favorite things to teach so I’m always happy to find new resources. When those resources are both funny and helpful, it feels like my birthday.

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Little Red Writing by Joan Holub and marvelously illustrated by Melissa Sweet, is for a younger audience. Loosely based on “Little Red Riding Hood,” Red Pencil gets lost in the adjective forest, adds too much conjunction glue, and faces the drama of adverbs. When she follows a tail to the principal’s office she discovers something horrible has happened to Principal Granny and she must draw upon her courage to help everyone in the school.

Thrice Told Tale  by Catherine Lewis is more appropriate for  a YA audience. Using the nursery rhyme “Three Blind Mice” Lewis explains writing terms with clever examples.Each term is presented in 1-2 pages with the story of the ill-fated mice taking twists and turns to model the idea and a summary concluding the main idea at the bottom of each page. As cute as this idea is it is really not for a young audience. Some of the terms and examples are complex and two chapters ( “F_ _K” and “Sex”) clearly make it a resource for older writers. It is a wonderful book, though and I actually read it cover to cover because I enjoyed seeing what the author was able to do with “Three Blind Mice”.

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