Sunday, March 24, 2013

#24 of 31 Shared Post

Today I wrote a post challenge for my freshmen modeled after one of Penny Kittle's reading response questions in Book Love. I decided to share it here. I've been challenging them with a post a week this quarter, hence the directions at the end of the post.

This week you are going to write me a letter.

But not just any letter.

You are going to write me a letter and tell me about the book you are reading right now and share your thinking about it.

Here's what I want to know:

What questions do you think the author is asking as they write this book?

Sounds complicated, doesn't it. Most authors have central questions as they write a book. Questions they attempt to find answers for as they write. As readers, it's important for us to think about what we read and what questions or purpose the author had as they wrote the book.

Need a mentor text? Here's my letter to you about the book I am currently reading.

Dear Freshmen,
Right now I'm about half way through The Pull of Gravity by Gae Polisner. It's about Nick and Jaycee who, after their friend Scooter dies of a rare disease, take off to find their find Scooter's father, a man who deserted Scooter and his mom when he was a baby, and give him a signed first edition of Of Mice and Men.

I think there are many questions in this book, but one that stands out for me is 'How can a parent leave and never see their child again.' Scooter's dad left him when he was a baby because he couldn't deal with Scooter's illness. Nick's dad leaves on a personal quest. I understand having a hard time dealing with a devastating illness. I understand the need for time to reflect and grow. I don't understand leaving.

As a parent, I just can't wrap my head around the idea of leaving and never seeing my kids again. I'm hoping that as I keep reading this book, I find some answers. Nick and Jaycee haven't met up with Scooter's dad yet and all we know of Nick's dad is emails that he sends to Nick (but Nick doesn't read them).

I like books that give me something to connect to and think about, so I'm hoping that I find good answers as I continue reading.

Mrs. Day

Here are some things to notice about my letter:
  • I italicized the titles of books
  • I gave you a short summary of the book because I know you haven't read it
  • I told you what a central question for me is in the book
  • I wrote about how I felt about that question

Remember the directions for writing a blog post:

  • need to be 200-300 words long
  • must have a catchy title
  • need a FREE graphic of some kind
  • need to be spell-checked, grammar checked, punctuation checked

This is due by midnight, Friday March 29 for an A. If you don't make the deadline, you still need to write the post, you just won't receive an A.


  1. This is great! I feel that I might be doing something like this after our spring break! Thanks for the idea!

  2. LOVE the mentor letter you wrote with the tips.

    I used to have my students write me reader's letters in lieu of book reports when they finished a book. (It was for the Chancellor's Medal in NYC.) It's so much more interesting to read a letter than a book report, isn't it?

  3. I love the example letter. What a great model for them to follow. I hope you will update on how this goes.

  4. I love seeing your teaching in action. Your instructions and model are so clear and so positive. (I'm definitely stealing the "If you don't make the deadline, you still have to do it. You just won't get an A.") I love how your directions were in the form of "things to notice" about your model. Awesome!!!