This is your EMWP Summer Institute Book Group blog. You are asked to post at least once a week before and during the Institute. Your group leader will post additional assignments and post topics. Check back often. If you have any questions or concerns contact your leader, Cynthia.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Going Back to the Beginning

I feel like Chapter 1, The Value of Nonfiction: Imagining the Possibilities is a light and easy read. I appreciate that Dorfman and Cappelli repeatedly make the point that teachers who teach writers need to write themselves. I believe that this is true. I think it influences a teacher's comfort for picking mentor texts and using them in multiple ways. I also like how the authors weave tight connections between fiction and nonfiction reading and writing.  On page 4, the authors state, "We have found that fiction books can serve as mentors when writing informational and persuasive texts." This makes a lot of sense to me. They go on further to say, "Sometimes we need a fiction book to serve as a catalyst to write about a topic or to imitate the form, voice, or syntax of an author." Writing, whether fiction or nonfiction, is about audience, purpose, and form.


  1. Reading fiction and non-fiction together can be so much more than complementary. I use fiction books to spark questions that we can research in non-fiction books. I teach middle school and greatly appreciate classical literature. An elective I taught this year was "Sci-fi or Not?" We looked at three novels: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, War of the Worlds, and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. We read these books and performed science experiments and investigations to see if the science in the books was real or imagined. We also looked at the historical context of the time period when the book was written and then at who the biographies of the authors. It was great fun. As an idea for culminating projects, students could write an alternate ending to the story, make a game, create a travel brochure or travel website, or provide a detectives report (if the storyline is appropriate for this). I really appreciate the questions that students began to ask of the fictional texts and the chance for research both in non-fiction texts and in other resources.

    1. I bet the kids did have fun and I love the books you chose for your lessons. Have you always taught middle school?