#SOL15: Beginning with Quotes

Writing quotes I’m holding onto and thinking about as I construct this post:

“I read like a teacher of writing even when I’m reading the morning paper, and I see rich text possibilities all around me.”

-Katie Wood Ray @katiewoodray

katie wood ray


Steps to Using Mentor Texts

Select a text to emulate and reread – one that inspires an idea, models a structure, or demonstrates an author’s craft worth trying.

·         Read it (Read like a reader)

·         Analyze it (Read like a writer)

·         Emulate it (Write like the writer)

– adapted from Kelly Gallagher @KellyGtoGo

kelly gallagher

When I read like a writer, it feels different.  There’s a bit of anticipation and excitement because I know that I am going to be writing soon.  There’s also a bit of trepidation and anxiety.

“What if it’s not good enough?”  

“What if no one wants to read it?”

make things happen

The point of writing and especially writing like the writer is that one writes a LOT.  It’s not about the audience YET.  It’s about the words, phrases, sentences, paragraphs, and yes, even the poems appearing on the paper in DRAFT form!  The print version is a pre-cursor to being ready for a “reader”.

Writing . . . Writing from the heart of a writing teacher! You will be a better teacher because you can model and share exactly “how” you begin . . . or get unstuck . . . or try a new craft example.

What writers are you emulating?

What quotes are you holding?


Check out the writers, readers and teachers who are “slicing” here. Thanks to Stacey, Anna, Beth, Tara, Dana and Betsy at “Two Writing Teachers” for creating a place to share our work.  So grateful for this entire community of writers who also read, write and support each other!

18 responses

  1. I completely agree. I was just telling my friend this same thing. She asked me what interview questions are good. I said, “ask them what they read. Ask them when they write. Because the best teachers are those who are mentors.”

    1. Kimberly ~
      You are so correct . . .”She asked me what interview questions are good. I said, “ask them what they read. Ask them when they write. Because the best teachers are those who are mentors.””

      I find it “scary” when teachers are quick to say, “I don’t read.” or “I don’t write.” ❤
      Thanks for commenting!

  2. Fran, you chose two wonderful quotes from favorite writers to inspire us this morning. Seeing rich text possibilities in all we read is what I will set out to do today. Thank you.

    1. “Rich text possiblities in all we read . . .” so very true, Carol!

  3. Reading like a writer is a phrase that too many teachers don’t understand. They are only reading for the content, rarely for the craft or style. Before I knew better, I would read something and love the way it was written, but never analyzed to discover what made me pause. Now, I stop, study, and think that maybe I can do that too.
    I shudder when teachers tell me they don’t read or write. Then I do everything I know to show them why they should be readers and writers.

    1. Folks need to be reading and writing a lot!

      “Reading like a writer is a phrase that too many teachers don’t understand. They are only reading for the content, rarely for the craft or style.” – – and this just makes me sad!

  4. This post is real and true. When teachers set out to be writers, it’s an adventure that can only lead to better teaching.

    1. YES, It’s an adventure!

      I love that it leads to better teaching!

  5. Like so many others, How a teacher can say that they don’t read or write is beyond me. How can we teach our students to become proficient readers and writers if we don’t do those things as well?

    1. We MUST – So not an option!

  6. I write for a couple of hours every morning. But it’s what I do during the other twenty-two hours that allows me to do that writing.–Don Murray
    I am hanging onto this quote because it reminds me to live life and be creative with my hands. It reminds me to be observant as I go about the rest of my day, always aware of stories lurking around the corner waiting to be caught.

    1. OMG – adding that to my ppt for tomorrow! Thanks, Erin! I LOVE that!
      love “stories lurking around the corner waiting to be caught!” So true!

      Thanks, Erin for commenting!

  7. Fran,
    I read Katie Wood Ray over ten years ago, yet I didn’t understand her point until I started to write, not just for my students, but for myself, daily. I’m not surprised that even the most dedicated teachers don’t write. It is a scary thing.

    We have to give ourselves and our students a wide berth to create knowing that it’s “a pre-cursor to being ready for a ‘reader’.” Writing starts with us and evolves from the words and phrases. Giving ourselves and our students space and permission to do this allows the process.
    Great post! Thank you, Fran.

    1. You are welcome!

      Thanks for your regular comments and your encouragement! You have been part of my success!

      See you next week!

  8. sallydonnelly11 | Reply

    As I read the first quote I smiled to myself. As I read The Washington Post now, I find myself almost daily reading and thinking, “I like that lead…I like that description….etc”. It is so true that the more I write now, the more I read like a writer! Thanks for helping me celebrate this today through your post!

    And remember – take careful notes and SHARE your TCRWP institute experience for those like me who are waitlisted. ENJOY…just around the corner.

    1. Sally,

      Sharing is at the top of my summer list!

      And I agree; reading like a writer is TOO funny some days!

  9. Thanks for sharing these important reminders, Fran. I shared this quote from Mary Oliver with a group of 6th graders yesterday: “Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself up to your imagination.” Inspiration is everywhere. We just have to pay attention!

    1. Catherine,
      Sometimes “paying attention” is the hard part! What a great quote to share with students!

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