13 Words by Lemony Snicket

March Theme:  Word Choice

For the first half of 2011, I will take time to focus on picture books that you can use with each of the Six Traits of Writing.  Each month will be dedicated to a new trait.

December 2010 – Ideas

January 2011 – Organization

February 2011 – Voice

This month’s theme is Word Choice.  How can we use picture books to model for students how authors pick specific words for their writing?  How do authors use words to convey a feeling or a get a point across?

Recommended Grades: 2-5

13 Words begins with just that: 13 words.  With those thirteen words, Lemony Snicket weaves a story of a despondent bird and a dog on a quest for a hat. The reader also learns the meaning of several of the words through the context of the story.

Lesson idea: Read aloud this book and discuss how the author created a story using only thirteen words.  Brainstorm a list of thirteen words and create a shared writing experience as a class using those thirteen words.  Post the shared writing as a model in the classroom.  Encourage students to write their own 13 Words story as part of Writers Workshop.

If you are looking for additional resources and ways to teach word choice to students, find past posts under the Word Choice tag.

**Note** I provide these lesson ideas under the assumption that you are familiar with The Six Traits of Writing.  If you are not, and would like more information on teaching students about organization or any other six traits component, please feel free to contact me at Dlittle[at]linkstoliteracy[dot]com.  I am happy to provide more specific lessons or resources if necessary.

©2011 by Dawn Little for Picture This! Teaching with Picture Books. All Amazon links are affiliate links and may result in my receiving a small commission. This is at no additional cost to you.


3 thoughts on “13 Words by Lemony Snicket

  1. Janelle March 7, 2011 / 1:47 PM

    I reviewed 13 Words last week on my blog. My daughter is in kindergarten and really enjoyed this quirky book. Besides using some complex words, the book also uses several “beginner words.” I think that it would be a mistake to limit this title to grades 2-5. Big words and big concepts appeal to younger writers as well.

    • Links to Literacy March 7, 2011 / 10:12 PM

      Janelle, I agree that the book appeals to younger readers/writers as well. I wouldn’t consider the title limited to grades 2-5. The grade levels are really more of a suggestion. I feel that most any lesson/book can be adapted to meet the needs of any age learner. Perhaps I should remove the grade level suggestions?

  2. Carol Covin March 10, 2011 / 3:50 PM

    What a great concept for teaching writing. I’m creating a writing workshop for grandparents to write their autobiographies for their grandchildren and I may use this provocative idea.

    Am reminded of the, perhaps apochryphal, story that Hemingway was challenged to write a story in 6 (or under 10) words. The result: For sale. Baby shoes. Never used.

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