Skip to main content

Analysing a text - Writing and art workshop Week 3

Text analysis is key to helping less confident writers build a framework to hang their ideas on. It is the solid foundation that supports the imaginative flourishes of a quality finished piece. 

A good author is a good reader!

Week 3





"I love books. I love that moment when you open one and sink into it, you can escape from the world into a story that's way more interesting than yours will ever be."
Elizabeth Scott 

Do we at ARTiculate have a catchy slogan? If we did, it would probably be the best slogan in the world. But, if I was going to adopt one here and now it might be: "Read. Then go for it!"  The importance of reading for an author is difficult to overstate. How can you write convincingly if you've never read a convincing book? Drawing on other people's ideas, being inspired by another's use of language, seeing how a text is structured - all essentials for a budding writer.

When you're working on a short, picture book text where words are effectively sparse, writing your own level-appropriate text as a model for children to be guided by is a really good idea.  

And so today, my young trainee authors analysed a model text written by me to use as a model for their own writing. The piece was a written from the viewpoint of The Man: his 'message in a bottle' after his initial encounter with the island and its conflicted inhabitants. 

After a quick read through, the group were asked to:
a) summarise the content of each paragraph, making notes to the side of the page. This will then form the structure for their own writing.
b) comb through the text looking for adjectives, adverbs, connectives and other nuts and bolts of a well written text. These were colour-coded. 
c) look at how the author engages the reader directly.

This process of text analysis is key to helping less confident writers build a framework to hang their ideas on. Although this might lack the pizzazz to get you an outstanding in an observation (I did not stand on a table during this session. I was tempted, I admit.), it is the solid foundation that supports the imaginative flourishes of a quality finished piece. Moreover, it is the reality of writing for an audience - a key part of an author's work. 

After reading the first parts of their initial drafts, this approach is working a treat! 

Popular posts from this blog

Creative writing based on Hokusai's The Great Wave

The Great Wave - Creative writing workshop, Year 6

Week 1: Vocabulary development








Inspired by Japanese artist Hokusai's masterpiece The Great Wave, Year 6 are starting on a creative voyage to bring the iconic print to literary life! We spent some time poring over the features of painting: the spray, the wave, the boats and, well hidden, Mount Fuji.

After reading an account of Ellen MacArthur's sailing voyages, we began to generate some cutting edge vocabulary to give our writing some sparkle.

This was the process:
Children labelled the features of the picture, including parts of the wave (crest, barrel, swell, lip)We chose personified verbs for the different features. 'Grabbing', 'scratching' and 'grasping' for the finger-like lip of the wave; 'screaming', 'slapping' and 'whistling' for the wind.The group selected similes for each of the features. The wind became 'a bellowing dragon', the boats were 'a floating feather&…

Blood thirsty Macbeth posters

Macbeth
Creative writing workshop, KS2
Macbeth is a blood-drenched, gory and spooky tale. Too gruesome for little ones? Apparently not! The Year 4 and 5 children I have been working with this half term have become completely immersed in the Scottish play.  As well as getting the children to write short playscripts, developing the climactic showdown between Macbeth and Macduff (more on this at a later date), my groups have designed some concept posters for the play. The children chose a colour and symbol that represented some aspect of the play (bloody red, royal purple, a black cat for the witches, a chess piece for the king) and overlayed it with words that help tell the story. We used emulsion paint and big worn-out brushes (the ones at the back of the cupboard that nobody uses...) to achieve a battle-worn, scratchy effect. Gory blood splatters went down a treat too! Here are some fine examples!

ARTiculate newsletter: March 2018

Hello teachers!

Well this is embarrassing! 2018 is already three months old and this is my first newsletter. A combination of exciting creative work and house moving has stolen my time. But here is an update on everything ARTiculate and, as usual, resources and recommendations for you to use to add a creative spark to your literacy teaching!


Between the lines: a lesson in diversity from a bookshop in Cape Town
This month I am in South Africa’s most beautiful city: Cape Town. There are many issues in education here in South Africa, not least the massive disparity in opportunity and funding for children in many schools. After a visit to the fantastic bookshop The Book Lounge, I have been inspired by the interesting range of children’s literature on offer; crucially, it is literature representative of the diversity in the country.

A bit of a poke in the ribs for teachers like us in the UK: how much does the literature we use in our classrooms reflect the racial and ethnic diversity of th…