Forty Best-practices Instructional Activities
Background: Writers have a repertoire of strategies in their “toolbox” to help them communicate ideas effectively. Some of the writer’s strategies include alliteration (a string of words with the same initial sound), similes, metaphors/analogies, sensory details (vividly describe sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch to engage the reader’s senses), onomatopoeia (writing words that represent the sounds of the things they describe), personification (assigning human characteristics to a nonhuman object), and the use of powerful nouns and verbs (instead of flower, the author writes tulips; instead of walked, the author writes scampered, or sauntered). Students who analyze writing strategies become adept at identifying author’s style. This background knowledge (understanding author’s styles) aids comprehension. It also demonstrates how students can apply strategies in their own writing.
Procedures: After reading a selection, students revisit the text to collect samples of writing strategies. In small groups students sort and analyze the samples. As a group they discuss each other’s opinions about the effectiveness of each sample. Questions that help students explore writing strategies: “What strategies did the author use?” “Why do you think the author chose the strategy to communicate ideas about this topic?” “How would the use of this strategy help readers understand the information?”
Examples: See the Lessons and Activities to find reading selections that demonstrate each of the strategies described above.
Reading Strategies: Activate Prior Knowledge, Analyze Ideas from Text, Build Vocabulary, Identify Main Ideas and Details, Summarize Information, Synthesize Ideas, Make Connections, Identify Author’s Viewpoint and Purpose