Now Open the Box by Dorothy Kunhardt

Publisher: The New York Review Children’s Collection

Publication Date:  August 20, 2013

A circus man stands in front of his circus tent holding a very small box. What could be in that little, tiny box? When the circus man opens the box, all the people see for themselves a teeny, tiny, dog, named Peewee.

Read Aloud Recommended Grades: K-2

Lesson Recommended Grades: 3-5

Note:  This book was originally published in 1934, a re-released classic by the author of Pat the Bunny.

Lesson Idea: Sentence Fluency/Dialogue: Read aloud Now Open the Box and discuss the author’s technique. What do students notice when you show them the text? She used run on sentences to build suspense and grab the reader’s attention. She also left out traditional punctuation when characters spoke. After reading aloud, provide copies of several pages of the text for students. Ask them to indicate places where they could add punctuation for dialogue.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book for review from the publisher.

©2013 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.

Twilight Comes Twice by Ralph Fletcher

April Theme:  Sentence Fluency

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

March 2011 – Word Choice

This month’s theme is Sentence Fluency.  How can we use picture books to model for students how authors vary their sentence structure?  How do authors create flow with their sentences?

Recommended Grades: 3-5

Twilight Comes Twice by Ralph Fletcher is another great mentor text.  You can use this text to model sensory details, personification, or sentence fluency.  It’s a lyrical story of how twice a day we see twilight, once in the evening when it’s called dusk and once in the morning when it’s called dawn.

Lesson idea: Read aloud this book and discuss with students how the author varies the beginning of his sentences.  Read aloud again, and have a student or students list the first word of each sentence.  Analyze the list and determine how the author varies the beginning of his sentences.  Do the sentences begin with the same word each time?  Not really.  Does this help with sentence fluency and flow?  Why?  Have students take this technique to their own writing by analyzing a work in progress and determining if they need to vary the beginning of their sentences.

**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 sentence fluency 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.

Owl Moon by Jane Yolen

April Theme:  Sentence Fluency

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

March 2011 – Word Choice

This month’s theme is Sentence Fluency.  How can we use picture books to model for students how authors vary their sentence structure?  How do authors create flow with their sentences?

Recommended Grades: 3-5

Owl Moon by Jane Yolen is a fantastic mentor text in the classroom.  A little girl and her father go owling one late, cold, winter night.  Her father calls out to the owls, but will one call back?

Lesson idea: Read aloud this book and discuss with students how the author uses simple and complex sentences to vary her sentence structure and fluency.  If necessary, provide a mini-lesson on simple and complex sentences.  Discuss how varying sentence structure relates to sentence fluency and makes a writing piece stronger.  Read aloud the text again to determine when the author uses simple and complex sentences.  How does it affect the flow of the text?   Have students use works in progress or create a writing piece and edit for use of simple and complex sentences.

**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 sentence fluency 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.

All the Places to Love by Patricia MacLachlan

April Theme:  Sentence Fluency

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

March 2011 – Word Choice

This month’s theme is Sentence Fluency.  How can we use picture books to model for students how authors vary their sentence structure?  How do authors create flow with their sentences?

Recommended Grades: 3-5

All the Places to Love by Patricia MacLachlan is a moving story of the birth and first several years of life for Eli.  When he is born, his grandmother holds him up to see all the places to love at his family’s favorite place.  In this instance, Eli and his family are all connected.

Lesson idea: Read aloud this book and discuss with students how the author uses various techniques to lengthen her sentences on each page.  As you read through the book again, note how the author uses semi-colons in several places.  If necessary, provide a mini-lesson on semi-colons and their purpose and uses.  In this case, the author uses them to join related clauses, creating a longer sentence.  Ask students: How does the lengthening of the sentence help the piece flow?  What would happen if you made the clauses into separate sentences?  How would it change the flow of the story?  Have students work on using semi-colons in their own writing to connect clauses and lengthen sentences, where it makes sense.

**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 sentence fluency 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.

Family Reunion by Mary Quattlebaum

April Theme:  Sentence Fluency

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

March 2011 – Word Choice

This month’s theme is Sentence Fluency.  How can we use picture books to model for students how authors vary their sentence structure?  How do authors create flow with their sentences?

Recommended Grades: 2-5

Family Reunion is the story of a weeklong family get together.  However, the story is told through fifteen poems.

Lesson idea: Read aloud this book and discuss how the author wrote the story through poems, as a ballad. How does writing in this way provide sentence fluency for the piece?  Does writing in rhyme help create fluency?  Have students practice sentence fluency by writing their own ballad in four line stanzas to tell a story.  They may want to take a piece they’ve already written and see if they can turn it into a ballad with four line stanzas.  Does it help the piece flow better?

**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.