Bookmarked If you want to be a writer, you have to be a reader first by an author

It’s been said a million times — it’s one of the main points of my books Steal Like An Artist and Show Your Work! — and yet, it still seems to be controversial or confusing to young people who are starting out: If you want to be a writer, you have to be a reader first.

Austin Kleon provides a collection of quotes outlining the importance of reading before writing. It is interesting to think about this in regards to J. Hillis Miller’s argument that reading itself is an act of writing:

As we read we compose, without thinking about it, a kind of running commentary or marginal jotting that adds more words to the words on the page. There is always already writing as the accompaniment to reading.

Liked On Reading (Julian Stodd’s Learning Blog)

Reading is the process of gently breaking yourself: eroding dogma, undermining opinion, fracturing certainty. It’s a continual process of renewal: evaluating the things that we are sure are true, against new evidence that our certainty maybe unfounded, leaving us with the choice of growth, or stagnation. It’s an aggregated activity: we may not read one page that changes us, but the pages, in aggregate, change us immeasurably. If we are open to the opportunity.

Liked Opinion | The Writer Who Destroyed an Empire (nytimes.com)

All this would give the writer great satisfaction. But though feted and exploited by questionable allies, Solzhenitsyn should be remembered for his role as a truth-teller. He risked his all to drive a stake through the heart of Soviet communism and did more than any other single human being to undermine its credibility and bring the Soviet state to its knees.

Bookmarked Revisiting the Genius of Middlemarch by an author (Literary Hub)

Some great novelists, like Jane Austen, mostly absent themselves from their narratives. George Eliot is present everywhere in Middlemarch, often speaking in the first person. We are in the company of someone humorously wise. It is risky for a novelist to explain her characters’ behavior by making observations from life, but she does so with a subtlety that animates those characters rather than turning them into demonstrations.

I remember Middlemarch as being a novel of small things. I really should reread it as it has been a few years.
Liked A process for analytical writing… by an author

Bianca’s (uncomplicated) textual analysis process:

  1. Read the text carefully and highlight the bits that I think are really interesting and evocative (make me imagine people, places, situations or think about big ideas).
  2. Under each human experience rubric heading (see table given in class) write one or two things that I found in the text. These become sub-headings under the main rubric headings.
  3. I then number each thing I’ve found (e.g. ‘1. Striving for authenticity’) and then go through my highlighted bits in the text and put the relevant number beside it. (i.e. the quote(s) I highlighted that best evidences ‘striving for authenticity’).
  4. I type up the quotes under the headings/sub-headings in a new document. For each quote I try to identify what device is being used by the composer to communicate the idea and add this beside it. This isn’t always something you can put your finger on in the example, like a metaphor or simile, but could be something broader like characterisation, structure, perspective or narrative voice that the example shows.
  5. For each piece of evidence, I think about why the identified device is effective at making the reader think about the identified idea in the subheading, and why the composer would want me to think about that idea, or feel a particular emotion, or imagine a particular situation etc. This is about the purpose and the effect of the device used to create meaning.
  6. Once I have all of this information, I start to write. Usually I write in IDEA sentences (it is natural for me now and allows me to say more in less words) but not always, so don’t confine yourself to a formula.
Liked The Last Days of George Orwell by an author (Literary Hub)

Nineteen Eighty-Four was due out in June. Terrified by its dystopian reality, his publisher told Muggeridge that booksellers who read it claimed to be too scared to sleep at night

From Anthony Powell: Dancing to the Music of Time. Courtesy of Knopf. Copyright © 2018 by Hilary Spurling.
Liked What James Baldwin and J.M. Coetzee Tell Us About History and Home by an author (The Offing)

Baldwin and Coetzee, with their lives and their novels, help to illustrate the unburiedness of national trauma, the ways that collective wounds trickle into the individual psyche, and ultimately just how essential it is to come face to face with history in order to enable true, sustaining reconciliation. It is impossible to divorce ourselves from history; but perhaps our intertwining with its painful legacies keep us committed to altering its course for posterity’s sake

Liked Our ELA Curriculum Map for 7th Grade 90 Minute Block by Pernille Ripp (Pernille Ripp)

As some of you may know, we are moving from a 45-minute block of ELA time to a 90-minute block.  I cannot tell you how excited I am for this to happen.  To actually have more time to dig in, to have fewer students so I can know them better, to be able to pull small groups more often and really support student growth – yes, please!  But with this change comes a lot of decisions.  We want to make sure students are engaged and challenged well within the 90 minutes.  We don’t want it to drag on, we don’t want it to be lecture.  So as the year starts to come closer, the ideas and aspirations we have had are starting to take shape and I thought it would be nice to share them here, in case others need some inspiration.

Bookmarked ‘Invisible’ literacies are literacies for the future. What are they? Why is teaching them vital? (EduResearch Matters)

Discipline–specific literacies (literacies that are specifically needed in a discipline, for example, by an historian or a lawyer, in order for them to work effectively in their fields) have been the focus of much research. Content area specialists build knowledge in their field. They use ‘invisible’ and important literacies that go beyond traditional writing text, spelling, punctuation and other conventional literacies. These include other modes (such as collaboration or demonstration) or semiotics (signs, marks) present in different subject areas.

Georgina Barton, Amélie Lemieux and Jean-Charles Chabanne discuss the place of subject specific vocabulary. It is interesting to this of this alongside discussions of digital literacies and fluency.
Bookmarked The Game of Quotes: Getting once reluctant readers whispering by Heather Marshall (The Book Sommelier)

I created a presentation in Google slides with a couple of prompts. I used animations so that the students wouldn’t see the prompt until it was time, and silent reading instantly became a fun game! The room was filled with laughing, and page turning, and whispers of “I want to read that!” When was the last time a reading log or an online quiz caused a stir of echoes in the classroom?

Heather Marshall adapts the game Bring Your Own Book for the classroom. This involves a series of prompts to help think differently about what you are reading. Marshall also discusses creating your own prompts. This activity reminds me of the Hot Seat activity, where students are challenged to think more deeply about the text. I really like the idea of the Game of Quotes as a revision activity.
Bookmarked Using Picture Books With Older Students – A How-to Guide by Pernille Ripp (Pernille Ripp)

Which book I choose to share depends on the lesson.  I treat it much like a short story in what I want students to get out of it so it has to suit the very purpose we are trying to understand. I introduce the concept by sharing a story and then I ask my students to come as close as they can to the rocking chair in our corner.  Once settled, whether on the floor, on balls or on chairs, I  read it aloud.  We stop and talk throughout as needed but not on every page, it should not take more than 10 minutes at most to get through an average size picture book.  If it is a brand new concept I may just have students listen, while other times they might engage in a turn-and-talk.   I have an easel right next to me and at times we write our thoughts on that.  Sometimes we make an anchor chart, it really just depends on the purpose of the lesson.  Often a picture book is used as one type of media on a topic and we can then branch into excerpts from text, video, or audio that relates to the topic.

Pernille Ripp provides a detailed guide into using picture books in any classroom. This includes choosing picture books, how she displays them, there place in supporting fluency and how they are used as introductory texts. This is all a part of knowing yourself as a reader. I too have used picture books in the past to support the teaching comprehension.
Liked Make Room For Both Types of Independent Reading by Pernille Ripp (Pernille Ripp)

if we listen to Louise Rosenblatt, and I don’t know why we shouldn’t, she reminded us back in 1978 that children need to be taught that there are two types of reading.  Aesthetic reading which focuses on the love of reading, on living within texts so that we can create a relationship with the text.  On being with the text so that we can see ourselves as readers.  And also efferent reading, reading for skill, reading to work on reading.  The things we do with what we read.

Pernille Ripp on the two types of reading.
Watched Lessons from the Screenplay from YouTube

With Lessons from the Screenplay, I make videos that analyse movie scripts to examine exactly how and why they are so good at telling their stories. Part educational series and part love letter to awesome films, Lessons from the Screenplay aims to be a fun way to learn more about your favourite films and help us all become better storytellers.

In this YouTube channel, Michael Tucker breaks down the art of film and scriptwriting. A useful resource for breaking down various techniques associated with storytelling. Australian Centre for the Moving Image and Amazon provides some other useful resources associated with films and storytelling.

via Kevin Hodgson