Here is an idea from my book Reviser's Toolbox that we can do together. Lets create a massive collection of the best leads from literature, non-fiction and fiction, picture books etc. and fill this forum with them. Writers can draw inspiration and teachers can cut and paste into a Word file to share with their students.
What is a lead? A lead is the opening of a piece of writing. It can be a sentence or a paragraph or even a page or two. It is the door that opens the piece or as John Mcphee says, the magic flashlight that shines down through a piece of writing. Leads make the reader want to read and the writer want to write.
Here's one from the realm of young adult literature:
"My name is India Opal Buloni, and last summer my daddy, the preacher, sent me to the store for a box of macaroni-and-cheese, some white rice, and two tomatoes and I came back with a dog."
-- Kate DiCamillo, Because of Winn-Dixie
I love that book so much. If you've read it, you already know that Opal is one of the most unique and admirable protagonists in literature. The book is also an excellent tool for teaching voice.
"When you write, you lay out a line of words. The line of words is a miner's pick, a woodcarver's gouge, a surgeon's probe. You wield it, and it digs a path you follow." The Writing LIfe by Annie Dillard
"For this to work, you've got to back off, give me a little bit of storytelling room, especially when you start thinking what I'm telling you isn't making so much sense, like a story should you'd read in a book. It won't be at all exciting and action-packed like The Count of Monte Cristo ; or scary like Edgar Allen Poe' stories (I'm thinking about the one where there's the heart beating somewhere under the guy's house and he can't figure out where from); or about love and death like in Romeo and Juliet , not even like in the movie with that skinny punk DiCaprio, who all the girls at school fall totally in love with.
Because this is what Mr. Ramirez, my all-day teacher at the Alternative Center, calls autobiography, or personal narrative. En otras palabras, it's got to be true what I tell about myself. Mr. Ramirez says we all got a story. "And if you look hard enough," he says, "you'll see you have many more to tell."
I've got nothing but time here in the Center, where I was sent about a month ago. So I'll give it a try."
Here is a place to share ideas that transform students into lifelong writers and help them succeed on any writing test, including STAAR. Download lessons from Barry Lane, Gretchen Bernabei and Alana Morris to add to your tool box. See More