Thursday, June 13, 2013

Voice Lessons


My daughter's Advanced Placement teacher used exercises from Voice Lessons to help her students develop their writing voices.

Each lesson is one page, including a quotation from literature which illustrates one of five categories--diction, detail, imagery, syntax, and tone--a couple of questions to lead students to examine the text closely, and a short assignment for application. In less than twenty minutes per lesson, students can learn to read as writers, appreciating what authors do well and practicing it in their own writing.

Discovering Voice is similar to Voice Lessons, except that it's intended for a slightly younger crowd. The quotations come from less advanced literature, and a sixth category--figurative language--is added. I used this resource with my 9th and 10th grade students last year, many of whom hadn't been in a prior formal writing class.

Two recommendations:
With either book, discuss the quotations, so that students have the privilege of both sharing and hearing insights.

View the exercises as tools to help students unveil the craft behind the words, not as worksheets to be completed halfheartedly. 
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