Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Right #SOL19

I am participating in the Two Writing Teachers Annual March Slice of Life Story Challenge.  

Do you ever wonder if the way you hear something read aloud is the same way in which the writer intended for it to be heard?

Today after our quick write time, I had a few students who wanted their writing shared, but they did not want to read it themselves. I always offer to read their beautiful words, but I often wonder if I read them the way the "right" way.

As I read one student's words, I could tell he was watching me intently. After class, he told me that hearing me read his words created a different feeling than what he imagined as he wrote them. He said I emphasized different words, and he liked it better that way.

Another student read her own work aloud. As I was listening, I pictured this written in verse.  I asked her about it, and she said, no, it was just a paragraph. Her writing had a cadence to it that begged to written in verse. I encouraged her to revise it, and afterwards, she was beaming. She knew this piece had a much deeper meaning and a different mood after it was written in verse.  Today, I share Alice's quick write on the random word, "right."  Again, this is writing produced in six minutes with only the revision of the line breaks.

The right thing to do, right?
Which way?
Left or right?
Right, the right way to go
Shimmering in the light
What is the right thing to do?
Sink or swim?
Leap or fall?
Leaving, was it the right thing to do?
I turn back, looking toward home
I was wrong.


  1. Thanks for sharing her poem. It's beautiful.
    Hearing these pieces read aloud is a great way for students to think about their writing.

  2. What a great way to start my day. I 100% agree with what you have written. Had you not asked your student to revise her writing into a poem, we would have missed out on something beautiful. Thanks so much for sharing.

  3. I guess it is only natural that when we read aloud someone else's words we emphasize what sounds important to us which might alter the meaning the author had in mind when s/he wrote the words. I wonder how many students/people realize that they make subtly interpretations of the author's written words.

  4. Beautiful poem. I am inspired by how you knew to do the right thing to encourage her to dig deeper... a passionate teacher.

  5. What a great question to ask yourself! I once listened to my mother-in-law read some of my poems aloud to me and only then was really able to recognize them as the poems they aspired to be. I'm thrilled that you encouraged your student to recognize the power of her own words and that could be boosted by changing the format.

  6. I think that one beauty of art -- whether it is written, painted, danced, or such -- is that it is open to interpretation. As readers, onlookers, or audience members, we seek certain things. It is like a Rorschach test. One of the delightful things about the Slice of Life challenge is that we get feedback to discover what someone else might see in our work. I bet that your students appreciate the same thing when you read aloud their compositions.

  7. Leigh Anne,
    That poem is beautiful!
    I love the ending lines . . . "Leaving, was it the right thing to do?
    I turn back, looking toward home
    I was wrong."
    (as well as the fact that she worked in many comparisons including right or left and right or wrong!)
    Great writing!

    Maybe 3 different people should read each piece??? Just wondering through my fingers here . . . Awesome teacher? Right! :-)

  8. I love this post Leigh Ann. So much of the work I did for Close Writing centered around just this topic. I enjoy hearing the "author" read and interpret their words for others, but I also know as teachers we can elevate the words of tentative writers for them by 'gifting them' with our read aloud voices that give a seriousness or authority to the writing for an audience. Your wondering is wonderful!!

  9. Ooooh! I love this! The revision turned out amazing! I know Women Writing for a Change does a lot with reading lines aloud. Hearing words lifted into the air the right way is a blessing. When children get to hear the words they wrote interpreted like that, it's inspiring! I think about all the audios I listen to. Some books have been enhanced by the narrator, others flattened. This is a fascinating topic. Thank you for writing about it!

  10. Beautiful. I love the way you are showcasing your students' writings, Leigh Anne!

  11. Wow! What beautiful verse you posted, Leigh Anne! I love how you celebrate student writing gems.