Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Getting Engaged w/ Reading and Writing - What do you think??

Students: Throughout this year we will hold meaningful conversations about our writing and reading. This is your place to discuss your world, your thoughts, your ideas, and how they relate to literature and writing. You will probably surprise yourself - our literature is more meaningful to us than we think! Welcome to Mrs. McIntyre's blog! Have fun. Be smart. Give your insight and share with us why you think that way!!

2 Comments:

At 5:16 PM, Blogger Beth McIntyre said...

Each year my students read To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Each year I find it more and more difficult to get my kids engaged in a novel that I believe transcends culture, age, race. So, I'm looking for advice, besides the monologues that my students write,edit,memorize and perform from a chosen character's perspective in the novel, to help get them engaged. Any ideas? I find that the vocabulary becomes more and more difficult for them.

 
At 6:14 AM, Blogger Beth McIntyre said...

In her book Imaginative Writing The Elements of Craft, Janet Burroway states, "You started learning to write- at the latest-as soon as you were born. You learned within hours to recognize an "audience," and within a few days that expressing yourself would elicit a response. Your basic desires created the fundamental form of story-- I want, I want, I WANT!- with its end in gratification (comedy) or denial (tragedy). Within a year you had begun to understand the structure of sentences and to learn rules of immense subtlety and complexity, so that for no precisely understood reason you would always say "little red wagon" rather than "red little wagon." You responded to rhythhm and rhyme (One, two. Buckle my shoe). You matched images and explained their meanings (This is a giraffe. Dog is hungry). You invented metaphors (My toes are soldiers). By the time you could speak you were putting together personal essays about what you had done and what had happened to you and forecasting fantasies of your future exploits. By the time you started school you had (mostly thanks to television)watched more drama than the nobility of the Renaissance, and you understood a good deal about how a character is developed, how a joke is structured, how a narrative expectation is met, how dramatic exposition, recognition, and reversal are achieved. You understood the unspoken rules of specific traditions-- that Bugs Bunny may change costume but the Road Runner may not, that the lovers will marry, that the villain must die.

You are, in fact, a literary sophisticate. You have every right to write.

This needs saying emphatically and often, becuase writing is one of those things- like public speaking, flying, and garden snakes- that often calls up unnecessary panic. Such fear is both normal and based in reason (some speakers do humiliate themseles, some planes do crash, some snakes are poisonous) and irrational (statistically, the chances of disaster are pretty low). Nevertheless, people do learn to speak, fly and garden. And people learn to shrug at their dread and write."

 

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