Monday, September 7, 2015

What Are You Reading? And Mentor Texts

I've read in many places that in order to become a better writer, you need to read!  Especially in the genre in which you write.  I first heard it in a Stephen King quote, and, I believe, it was in his book, On Writing.

I definitely read A LOT, well, at least I think it's a lot.  I counted how many books I've completed this year (there are two I did not/ will not complete...just didn't like them...but that's another post).  I counted 14.  Honestly, I was disappointed.  I really thought I'd read more than that!  But I have time to increase that number.

I mostly read High Fantasy.  Do I write that genre?   NOPE!  But someday I'd love to.  Just like, someday, I'd like to write a historical fiction with a touch of romance in it (I don't read that genre at all, but have a list of mentor texts).

I'm currently reading a few different series: The Stormlight series from Brandon Sanderson, the Elminster series by Ed Greenwood and the Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind.  I do read others along with these: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert among others.  But Fantasy is where it's at for me!

I write for kids.  I have some picture book, and early chapter book manuscripts I've been working on for a while, as I also write new stuff because, well, I love to write! 

Do I read this genre?  Oh yeah!  I do teach second grade after all!!  But, do I analyze them like a writer?  Do I treat them as a mentor text?  No!  But I sure need to.  I read many kids books each week, along with hearing kids read them, too.  I think I focus on them so much as a teacher for questioning, or for the kids enjoyment, that I do not look at them as a writer.

My goal, over the next month, is to really pick away at the text of a few books that the kids and I are drawn to, and really analyze them, compare them to what I write, see what I need to work on.

What are you reading?  What are you writing?  Do you "mentor text"?

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