Remembering the Ladies

12 Feb

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About 10 years ago, Cokie Roberts published Founding Mothers: the Women Who Raised Our Nation.  She followed it in 2008 with Ladies of Liberty: the Women Who Shaped Our Nation.

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Last year, she published a children;s version of these two books,  Founding Mothers: Remembering the Ladies. I picked this up to beef up our biography unit and I am using it today to talk about introductory paragraphs and opening sentences.

The book contains 12 biographies, each of which is a two-page spread. That means 12 opening sentences. I tell the kids, I don’t want 23 boring openings or 23 openings that are exactly the same. I want 23 openings that make me want to keep reading, especially if yours is the 23rd biography I pick up. And Cokie’s book lets me show how one writer can do that. certainly, some are more remarkable than others, but none of them are boring. This one is my favorite:

At the time of the American Revolution, of course there were no radios, televisions, or computers. So politicians depended upon newspapers and pamphlets to spread the message. One of the most important writers arguing for independence from Britain was Mercy Otis Warren.

The kids are in various stages of writing and researching. This is never a clean and neat progression of tasks. But I hope, wherever they are int he process, this mini-lesson will stick.

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