Margin Notes

Read Like a Teacher of Writing


The title of this post comes from one of my all-time favorite professional resources, What You Know by Heart by Katie Wood Ray.  It is the title of Chapter 6 where we are reminded:

“Every time we see writing, we are seeing examples of what’s possible in writing, and so we have to read the texts we encounter across our lives differently than other people.  We read these texts like teachers of writing.  We are on the lookout for interesting ways to approach the writing, interesting ways to craft sentences and paragraphs and whole texts, interesting ways to bring characters to life or make time move or get a point across.  When we read, we are always on the lookout—whether we intend to be or not—for interesting things we might teach our students how to do” (Wood Ray, 90).

In September, when I was setting up a new writer’s notebook, I created a space to record mentor text possibilities I find while I’m reading.  I am challenging myself to record them when I discover them so that I am only noticing but also naming the choices I see the writer making.  Plus, when I write them down, I know I can find them later when I am looking for them!  Here are four examples from my recent reading: (more…)