Franki’s Weekly Text Set-Mentor Texts in Writing: Introductions in Narrative Text

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This week, we’ll look at some great introductions in narrative text. When thinking about mentor texts, it is important for our students to be able to notice and name things and then to try new things in their own writing. I am a firm believer that studying introductions in narrative transfers to other genres. I worry that we are so tied to units of study that we don’t realize how much writing craft spans all types of writing. So this week, we’ll focus on narrative introductions but that doesn’t mean the craft moves learned can only be used in narrative writing.

Oge Mora is such an incredible writer and the way she introduces Saturday is definitely worth study and conversation. I’d consider the first four pages of this book the introduction. She uses great repeated language, used short phrases to set up the excitement and also gives us a bit of a clue as to what is to come. So many craft moves in such a short introduction. I like this one because sometimes students think the introduction is the first page by default but this book provides a good mentor on discussing which pages do serve as the introduction and discussing what an introduction to a story is. I’d say this is a 4 page introduction but am open to other thoughts. Understanding what an introduction is, is key for our writers so thinking about how much of the book is used to set up the story would make for a great mini lesson.

If you were at the Dublin Literacy Conference, you heard John Schu read the first page of Our Friend Hedgehog: The Story of Us aloud. I think these transitional chapter book authors are BRILLIANT at writing introductions. Because of the ways these authors support readers, the first page sets up the story. There is so much to discuss and try on this first page that I’d definitely include this book in a study of narrative introductions.

I love this introduction because it says so much in such a short paragraph. Sona Sharma, Very Good Big Sister? is a new series with the 2nd book coming soon. This introduction focuses more on setting but you learn a great deal about the main character by learning about where she lives. Such a visual is created by the words the author chose to begin with.

Mr. Watson’s Chickens is another fabulous picture book is another one that takes about 4 pages to set up. The last line of this introduction, “He started, like any sensible person, with 3.” gives the reader a bit of a clue as to what is coming as the story progresses. It is a great craft move for young writers to try out. This book also has the perfect amount of humor so writers who want to try writing something with a bit of humor can learn a great deal from this author.

Dragons in a Bag is a bit different from the others as Zetta Elliot begins by taking us right into the story–there is already a scene happening complete with some dialogue and as the reader we have to figure that out. This is a more sophisticated introduction for young writers to try and kids will have so much fun giving it a try–thinking about where in the story, they want to begin and how that might look.

This week’s books were linked at Bookelicious and/or  Cover to Cover Children’s Bookstore. If you are looking for a fabulous local children’s bookstore to support, Cover to Cover is an amazing one. We are lucky to have them in Central Ohio! If you don’t have an independent children’s bookstore in your town, check out Bookelicious. They are an online independent bookstore for children with an incredible curated collection. 

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