Presentation on theme: "Crafting Writing to Deepen Reading Comprehension NCTE Annual Convention November 2009."— Presentation transcript:
Crafting Writing to Deepen Reading Comprehension NCTE Annual Convention November 2009
Introductions Beverly Ann Chin Director of English Teaching Program, University of Montana Catherine Saldutti President, EduChange, Inc.
Session Preview We are delighted to share this session with Nicole Ziegler of Western Michigan University who will present Launching a Writing Center: Cultivating Writing through Carefully Reading Out Loud upon conclusion of our presentation
Part I: Overarching Aim To demonstrate reading and writing connections in the context of a compelling topic, as a means of supporting students in crafting high-quality sentences that impact an intended audience
Thought Question Why might students write short, choppy sentences? Sentence Fluency is the rhythm and flow of the language, the sound of word patterns, the way in which the writing plays to the ear, not just to the eye….Fluent writing has cadence, power, rhythm, and movement. It is free of awkward word patterns that slow the reader's progress. Sentences vary in length, beginnings, structure, and style, and are so well crafted that the writer moves through the piece with ease Trait Writing, NWREL
Sentence Fluency Two writing strategies for supporting students: –Sentence Expansion –Sentence Imitation These strategies require students to listen carefully when others read aloud, to understand the impact of sentence fluency on themselves as readers, and to investigate methods of crafting their own sentences for similar impact.
Our Compelling Topic The Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793 Why? –Depicts a Philadelphia plague –Relates to current events, emotions and situations with H1N1 Influenza –Demonstrates interdisciplinary connections –Highlights Laurie Halse Andersons book Fever 1793; she is ALANs Saturday breakfast speaker –Provides a variety of text types, particularly visual
Setting the Scene The Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793 Listen to a passage describing the epidemic from another heralded author for young adolescents An American Plague by Jim Murphy (2003)
Thinking about what you just heard, please write one sentence that describes the visual text you have been given.
Our basic sentence Based on our photo… Sick people filled a line of beds. Now you try it…
Strategy: Sentence Expansion In sentence expansion, students add information to short sentences in order to make their writing more detailed and interesting. --Beverly Ann Chin Taken from: Best Practices for Teaching Grammar at the Elementary Grades
Three Expanded Sentences Sick people filled a line of beds. Expanded Sentence #1: The doctors called it death row: the hospital ward where infected patients filled a line of beds. Expanded Sentence #2: Sick people, ridden with fever and reeling from the stench of bilious sheets, filled a line of beds. Expanded Sentence #3: Sick sailors filled a line of beds, known to the nurses as vessels of death.
Your basic sentence Feel free to use your text…or ours Now its your turn to craft expanded sentences.
Sentence Expansion Debrief Three expansion tactics: look for patterns in students writing and notice the syntax. Consider the impact on the reader: students may not be thinking carefully about where to expand the sentence, what effect is employed, and what impact this has on the reader. Longer isnt always better: concise sentences, well-placed within the paragraph, may add the variety necessary to maintain reading rhythms.
Passage from Fever 1793 One boarding house facing the Delaware River had a sick sailor in nearly every room. We went from patient to patient, checking their condition and feeding weak broth to those who had the strength to swallow. The sailors babbled in their own languages, afraid to die on the wrong side of the ocean in a world far away from people who knew their names. The vinegar-soaked cloth tied around my nose could not shield me from the stench of the dying men who baked in the old house. (p. 193) --Laurie Halse Anderson
Strategy: Sentence Imitation Sentence imitation is a strategy that uses the study of good models. When students imitate sentences, they replicate the syntax of a model text but use their own words and ideas. --Beverly Ann Chin Taken from: Effective Strategies for Engaging Middle School Students in Writing and Grammar Instruction
An Imitated Sentence Jim Murphys sentence from p. 80 of An American Plague: House after house was decorated with a tiny red flag, the sign that yellow fever had invaded it. Our Sentence Imitation: Bed after bed was covered with a blood-stained sheet, a sign that yellow fever had claimed another soul.
Try it! Feel free to use sentences about the yellow fever epidemic of 1793 or the H1N1 influenza pandemic of Now its your turn to practice sentence imitation.
Consider this timely map of H1N1 influenza contagion
Sentence Imitation Debrief Model sentences: its always good to prime readers to explore text for well-crafted sentences. Instant differentiation: for students who are less facile, imitation gives practice or rehearsal; more sophisticated writers are nudged to be more artful. Writing with reading on the mind: we still must consider the impact on the reader, which makes sentence imitation more challenging than it looks!
Passage from An American Plague All this calamity surrounded Helmuth, but he staying in the city and made daily door-to-door visits, cautiously walking deserted streets and abandoned alleyways with a trembling heart. House after house was decorated with a tiny red flag, the sign that yellow fever had invaded it. Block after block was empty and still. Those few Philadelphians he encountered shunned him, just as they shunned the black nurses, gravediggers, carters of the dead, doctors, bloodletters, and anyone who worked at or even visited Bush Hill. (p. 80) --Jim Murphy
Contact Information & Resources Beverly Ann Chin Director of English Teaching Program, University of Montana or (406) Catherine Saldutti President, EduChange, Inc. or (646) This presentation and resource list are available at :