The most powerful way to teach author’s craft is to have students become aware of the way authors use it in their best work. Students begin to read with “author’s eyes” recognizing and respecting the skills as they come across them in published examples. Can they notice and name a block of vivid elaborative detail? Does a suspenseful segment grab their attention and make them wonder? Raise goosebumps on their arms along with their anxiety levels? Can they point out a fully elaborated main event, with its mix of action, description, thoughts and feelings, dialogue? A satisfying extended story ending? They need to be able to do this in order to emulate these skills in their own work. This also helps them to become more mindful readers, able to tackle a wide range of literary analysis tasks.
It’s not that finding a great piece of literature that powerfully displays author’s craft techniques is difficult. It’s that classroom teachers often simply don’t have the time to peruse a whole collection of books in order to highlight the particular skills they’d like students to pick out. We do include powerful examples of each skill from literary excerpts in our EW resources, but sometimes you’ll want to see these examples in a larger context. The following downloadable list of middle grade fiction novels reflect the skills Empowering Writers teaches.
We’ve put together a handy list of middle grade titles appropriate for grades 3-6. Some can also be read aloud to grade 2, as a means of illustrating the skills being taught. Each selection is a chapter book containing great examples of entertaining beginnings, elaborative detail, suspense, feelings, main event, and extended endings. The highlighted skills can be found throughout the titles mentioned.
For instance: if you see that a book has been suggested for elaborative detail, you can find examples of that technique in various segments throughout the book. The only skill that has specific pages mentioned is main event. This is so that you do not have to search through an entire story to find a great example.
Enjoy the suggested selections, and as always, if you have a suggestion for us, please feel free to contact us!