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Teaching Ideas Using Beginnings

Several suggestions for using the writing found in the book Beginnings follow. We hope that these ideas will encourage you to do more than simply read the forceful pieces of writing contained in the book.

Bryan Bardine
Connie Sapin
Nancy Padak
Ohio Literacy Resource Center
June, 1998

· As you read each piece, make notes about what makes the writing powerful. If you are working in a group, share your ideas with each other. Draw some group conclusions about the things writers can do to add strength and power to their drafts.

· Especially with longer pieces, make similar notes about the most effective parts of the writing. Again, share these ideas with others, and draw some conclusions about the qualities of effective writing.

· As you read each piece, decide who the intended reader or listener is. Share your ideas in a small group. Can you make any generalizations about writing with an audience in mind?

· Use Bleich's heuristic as a way to respond to a particular piece of writing. To do this, think and make written notes about these three questions:

If you are working in a group with others who have also read the particular piece, share your ideas.

Note to teachers: For longer pieces such as short stories (pp. 16-19 and 48-50), try using a Directed Reading-Thinking Activity (DR-TA) to help students get practice in predicting, confirming, and looking carefully at texts.

If you are interested in reading Beginnings on the OLRC website, just follow these brief directions.

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