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Sunday, November 2, 2014

Here are some great articles on the use of short nonfiction texts. Enjoy!!!



The Big Fresh Newsletter from Choice Literacy
November 1, 2014 - Issue #406


Short and Smart 
  
It is with words as with sunbeams, the more they are condensed, the deeper they burn.
                                           Robert Southey
 
I remember Don Murray's favorite apology when passing out a long draft for others to read was "Sorry -- I didn't have time to write it short so I wrote it long." Don believed writers honored their audiences by distilling ideas down to their essence. For him, the best writing was always the most succinct -- the fewest carefully chosen words in just the right order.
Don didn't live to see the days of Twitter, but I think he would have loved the challenge of saying something of value in 140 characters or less. It's not surprising that Twitter flourishes, even though writing length is not an issue on the web. Blog posts can go on and on -- no dead trees to worry about. Yet it seems intrinsic to human nature to appreciate economy -- there is beauty in the barrista who moves so quickly and efficiently to craft a delicious espresso or swirl a heart on the surface of a latte, with not one wasted movement.
It's easy to view short text as easy reading, a way to differentiate instruction for learners who can't handle longer tomes. But the best short texts (like poetry) present whole worlds in words. They are challenging precisely because they are so precise -- they show students the power of rereading, the possibilities of inferring, and the importance of punctuation when it's framing spare text.
This week we look at using short nonfiction texts in instruction. Plus more as always -- enjoy!
 
 
Brenda Power
Founder, Choice Literacy

 

 
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[For sneak peeks at our upcoming features, quotes and extra links,  follow Choice Literacy on Twitter: @ChoiceLiteracy or Facebook:
 
 
Here are two features from the archives with creative ideas for using short nonfiction texts.
 
Mary Lee Hahn has advice for Making the Most of Short Texts:
 
 
 
In Sticky Little Invention, Jill Ostrow encourages student responses that will fit only on a post-it, with powerful results:
 
 
 
The ultimate short text is a poem. Tanya Baker from the National Writing Project talks with Shirl McPhillips about teaching poetry and her new book, Poem Central:
 

 
The new online course Supporting Teachers in Writing Workshops: A Course for Literacy Coaches with Ruth Ayres runs November 7-18. The focus is on conferring, recordkeeping, and helping teachers at their point of need. Click on the link below for more details:
 
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