Monday, January 7, 2013

Mom Monday - the emergence of a literary expert

     Last November, I blogged about spending the day at the Children's Festival of the Book in Bozeman. My 10 year old Wyatt's favorite writer was Jeanne DuPrau - especially since she signed his books. Even though he was laying on the floor when she was giving her presentation about how City of Ember came to be, I knew he was taking it all in.

sample Paper Bag Report
     Fast forward six weeks and he's about to turn in his quarterly project in language - the "Paper Bag Book Report". For 4th graders it helps if they break a book report down into section cards and tape it to something that they can decorate. The fun part is filling with things that relate to the character. Sometimes it's a box or a coffee can that becomes Tony Hawk (his project from 3rd grade).  Over the Christmas break he agonized over building his paragraphs - even asking for a thesaurus to find the right words. So exciting and excruciating it was watching this young writer at work!

     When he finished he was on top of the world. We took a minute to talk over the steps he took in making it and when we looked at the big picture, this is what HE ended up accomplishing (not me, he was in charge of this whole endeavor):

  • met the author and got signed books
  • listened to the author present on how the book came about
  • read the whole book (which is a selection more than double the AR reading level for 4th grade)
  • read the graphic novel
  • watched the movie (he had seen it when he was 7 so it was a faint memory)
  • compared the three and found the differences
He has become an EXPERT on City of Ember and I am SO proud of him!  
What other ways can you help kids make that connection?


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