As a teacher, I believe one of my responsibilities is to instil a love of writing in my students. Playing with words, creating imaginary worlds (and characters to live in them), exploring who will tell the story and from what perspective are all part of the process (and the fun). Even though the “traits of writing” are built naturally (or with a lot of hard work) into each piece of writing, I like to take them apart and examine each one individually so that students have a better understanding of ideas, word choice, voice, conventions, organization and sentence fluency. One of the ways I do this is through mentor texts. These are often picture books that will allow students to understand what we mean when we talk about a certain trait.
One of my favorite books when talking about “voice” is Dear Mrs. LaRue. Ike, Mrs. LaRue’s mischievous dog, is sent off to obedience school. Through his letters we are able to hear his “voice” very clearly. This is one you really should read to your class (or your own children).
I would love to hear your thoughts on the book and whether or not Ike’s voice is coming through loud and clear.