Empowering Writers

October 2016 Lesson of the Month

Hello October! Are you enjoying the fall as much as we at EW are? We love cooler weather, football, and the start of a great school year! This year, we’re focusing on writing ALL day EVERY day. So if you’re not in a self-contained classroom, rein in your fellow reading science, and social studies teachers and let’s get started together, paving the way to informed writers, comprehensive readers, knowledgeable historians, and scientific whiz kids! This month, we’ll continue establishing the foundation for cognizant writing habits that will turn students from “ok” writers to “great” writers. Students begin the year diving into the analysis and annotation of well-written samples. Besides the EW pieces used to practice this important process, let’s bring this skill full circle by having students analyze narrative and expository books, critiquing author’s words, identifying craft through Empowering Writers techniques. What they will come to find is that the skills they’re being taught are the very same that authors use and perfect.

October Lesson of the Month

The lesson this month reinforces basic analysis and annotation techniques, in accordance with the foundational writing skills found in both the Narrative and Expository Guides. To do this, students will head to the library or media center to analyze authentic published texts.


Students will work in pairs, analyzing both narrative and expository books, using the pillar and diamond frameworks to recognize organizational strategy and salient skills of each genre. Each pair will choose a narrative and expository book. They’ll skim, scan, and read in search of writing techniques used in the respective genres.

Here’s what you’ll do:

1) First, the teacher should visit the school library/media center and compile a sampling of grade level appropriate books from each of the genres. When looking for applicable narrative books, choose picture books with a high word count, chapter books, and/or middle grade novels. When searching for useful expository books, try to find books written in paragraph form with plenty of text rather than picture books filled with diagrams, charts, and photos with captions. For example, National Geographic for Kids is written in expository form, as are books by authors such as Gail Gibbons or Valerie Boden.

2) Distribute a copy of the Narrative and Expository Analysis Sheets to each pair of students.

3) Have students choose a narrative and expository book from the teacher selected assortment.

4) Each pair will choose one book and begin skimming the content, searching for any and all skills associated with the consistent genre. When samples are located, students will document Book Title, page numbers and excerpts of the skill from the book onto the Analysis sheet. Each pair will repeat the process for the alternate genre.