Monday, April 27, 2015

Modeling the Six Traits of Writing (VOICE): One of the most challenging traits to teach students is “how to use their “voice” in their writing."

by S. Romero

Most of us teachers are thankful if we can get a few good complete sentences and well organized piece of writing from our students. Getting them to bring their writing to life by using their VOICE is a whole other level.  When modeling a voice mini-lesson, I begin by picking out a good mentor text that helps demonstrate the voice trait as a read aloud. As I am reading, I stop and ask my students questions about the author and the story. I ask “What do you think the story is going to be about?” “Do you think the story is interesting so far?” “What makes it interesting?” “How do you think the author feels about this story?” “What feeling or emotion do you get when you listen to this story?” I then tell my students that a good writer writes with emotion by using their voice and writes what they know which makes their writing more interesting! Then we all say our famous chant “If you write what you know, your writing will flow!”   I tell my students that in their writing the use of their VOICE is very powerful! They can use it to persuade, make their reader happy, sad, scared, or nervous.     

NOTE: It is a good idea to pull out several mentor text that demonstrate the different types of emotions such as a scary book or sad story. That way your students can get a better understanding of how voice is used in many texts.  I also create a “Voice Chart” that includes the definition of voice in writing and pictures of mentor text that demonstrates a particular emotion as a visual for my students to refer to. 

Application: Students think of an interesting topic or story they would like to write about that will demonstrate their use of voice. Before they begin their writing assignment, I have them fill a writing graphic organizer that will help guide them in their writing. I want them to think about their audience and purpose of writing their story.

"Writing Graphic Organizer"
 Writing Graphic Organizer

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