With writing, we all have to find our own voice. To me, voice is demonstrated by a writer’s style, phrasing, use of words, and the way he/she guides the reader to visualize and understand the central message of a piece. When I am working with kids on finding their voice, I often use mentor texts that are unique. Author studies are very useful when teaching voice because you can “hear” the author’s voice across the texts you use. In this post, I’ll share my favorite authors for working on voice and what makes them great choices for teachers.
One series I love to use during the early part of the year is the Grace books by Mary Hoffman. Amazing Grace, Princess Grace, Boundless Grace, and Grace and Her Family are the titles I’ve included. I have used Amazing Grace with guided reading groups in the past, but not the others. I find the central message in Amazing Grace very inspirational, and the reason it has such an impact on the reader is because of voice. The gist of the story is that Grace, the main character, has determined that she can do anything and be anything she likes. She has a wild imagination and pretends to be all the characters she’s read about, but when her class begins to plan for their class play, Peter Pan, she’s suddenly faced with doubt. However, with the encouragement of her nana, she goes for it.
Two ideas I am planning with this book in particular are narrative writing about achieving something you set out to do and essay writing about goal setting. With voice, I think mini lessons focused on wow words vs. overused words are timely. One resource I have used from Gay Miller is her Wow Words Mini Thesaurus. I also love her Show Don’t Tell Powerpoint. You might look around on her site for other writing tips. THIS RESOURCE in my shop includes the guided reading materials I used for the book as well as writing options too. One other great thing I found in researching for this post are these great post-it note checklists. Thank you Writing Fix! There are so many Six Traits teaching tools available here!
Mentor Texts for Voice:
- reflect mood
- tap into the reader’s feelings, and
- target specific perspectives or points of view
I completely agree with these descriptions. Not every book is a great book for teaching voice, so it is important for us to be selective to make sure our books match our unique teaching purpose.
Other Posts to Check Out:
For other great mentor text book selections, check out the list below.