Six Traits Sunday-Word Choice

Well, it's Sunday, and that means it's time for a Six Traits Linky. Again this week, the linky focuses on Word Choice.  Last week, quite a few books were added to the list thanks to Wendy at MW Reading and Writing.  I've enjoyed looking through her book recommendations, and if you're looking for new book ideas, you'll have to make a stop by her blog.

This week, I am actually going to link up my linky with Amanda and Stacia's Must Read Mentor Texts Linky at Collaboration Cuties.  I thought I'd focus today's post on author, Chris VanAllsburg. The Polar Express came out shortly after I began teaching, and through the years, I've enjoyed collecting his books.  The illustrations and interesting story plots have always intrigued me.  Of his books, I do have a few favorites.  Of course, The Polar Express  is one I've enjoyed with my own children, and today, it's a classic in my opinion.  I also enjoyed sharing Jumanji and the sequel, Zathura, this past year with my students.  I think though, my all time favorite Chris VanAllsburg book is Two Bad Ants, and that's the book I'll talk about for reading skills and Six Traits Word Choice this week.

Two Bad Ants is such a wonderful book for explaining point of view, and I think one reason it is is because Chris VanAllsburg so carefully selected his words to describe without naming.  He used phrases like "sea of crystals" to describe the sugar in the sugar bowl and "big, brown lake" to describe a cup of coffee.  Students enjoy seeing things from a different perspective, and this book works well to model this concept.  For fun, teachers might brainstorm with students ten objects and in groups, students could brainstorm ways the objects could be described without naming them.  This could lead into shared writing of a RAFT paper.

RAFT stands for Role/Audience/Format/Topic. Students could take the role of a piece of gum writing to the child who spit it out in the form of a persuasive letter about what it's like to be stuck to the bottom of a shoe.  Another possibility is to take the role of a pencil writing to the school children in the form of an advertisement about why it's important to take good care of them.  Today, I'll share this RAFT template that you can use to make up your own RAFT assignment.
If you'd enjoy using Two Bad Ants in your classroom, you might take a look at this unit I've put together.  It includes before, during, and after activities for guided reading as well as seven pages devoted to analyzing word choice, planning for and developing descriptive writing to include vivid vocabulary, writing forms, and a revising checklist.  Here's a preview of what's included with a link to the store item.  

Now, it's your turn.  What books are your favorites for word choice?  Do you have a few favorite mentor texts?  Link up this week sometime and add your link to the linky tool below or on Amanda and Stacia's linky tool.  We're off to a new year, and let's get busy reading and writing!


  1. Wow, there is a lot of great info in this post! I love Chris Van Allsburg(even if he is a little weird sometimes) and I love Two Bad Ants!!

    This looks so great! Thanks for linking up!
    Collaboration Cuties

    1. Hey Amanda! I love your blog and have been following it for a bit. Reading specialists love linkies about books! Thanks for dropping by, and sorry my thumbnail didn't show up. I copied the image url, but I must not have grabbed all of the text. Boohiss! Have a great week!


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