Six Traits of Writing: Word Choice
Recommended Grades: 3-5th grade
The Scarecrow’s Dance by Jane Yolen, is one of her most recent books. Published in 2009, it tells the story of a scarecrow who becomes freed from his pole and dances through the air around the barn. Though he may want to be free, over-hearing the prayer of the farmer’s son changes his mind. Lyrically written and beautifully painted, The Scarecrow’s Dance should be a fall mentor text for teachers who want to model word choice.
Lesson Idea: Read aloud this book. Discuss with students how the author uses rhyme, similes, and specific words (such as prance, flung, shrugged, and trotted) to describe the scarecrow’s dance through the farm. After a thorough discussion about word choice (and perhaps with a few other models as well) and its importance in a writing piece, choose a fall topic and ask students to replicate Yolen’s work integrating rhyme, similes and descriptive words.
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