Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Playing with Voice

I am joining my youngest daughter as she reads The Swiss Family Robinson for a history/literature class. The story is told in first person, from the perspective of Mr. Robinson, the father of four boys. The writing makes me smile because, at least in this version, it is very formal, even stuffy.

If you don't own the Bantam Classic edition, invite your students to read chapter 1 and part of chapter 2 here. Based on the writing style, what words would they use to describe the father? Give them the task of revising a few of Wyss's paragraphs, making the writing sound like a different father: their own, one they know, or one they imagine. They can then compare the two versions. What makes them different?

Not only will your students be able to practice revising through this exercise, but they will also see the effects of different voices in writing.

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