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I’ve been studying sentence structure…

I was watching or listening or reading something this week — I don’t remember what — but the message was:

You can’t be a writer if you’re not a reader.

True. (And probably the reason I don’t remember who said it since this little tid-bit is fairly common knowledge.) The person went on to say:

If you want to improve as a writer, then you should spend time improving as a reader.

Also true. After my revision experience last week, I was deep in my first YA project. I also took some time to reread the first 50 pages of my current YA project. I noticed how my writing is changing. More importantly, I noticed how I want it to change. I want to write with more varied sentence structure.

The past few days I’ve been rereading some of my favorite YA books, looking at the sentence structure and patterns. I’m at that phase of noticing things, but not quite sure how to put them into words to try in my writing. So this morning, I started this page in my writer’s notebook…

Some notes in my writer's notebook as I study sentence structure. Click the image to make it bigger.

4 thoughts on “I’ve been studying sentence structure…

  1. This came up in our book club discussion last week – students were noticing certain sentences and really taking them apart. I think that the writing-reading connection I’ve been belaboring since the beginning of the school year is finally taking hold. This notebook share of yours, Ruth, makes me believe I need to get even more deliberate in this examination. Thanks for sharing a great teaching point – as per usual!


  2. Thanks for sharing your notebook page. This really shows how you have taken a passage from a book and applied it to your writing. This is something I want to show teachers as we learn about mentor texts and use just a piece from this text. Very powerful learning! I am chewing.


  3. As I told in an earlier post, I am noticing so much more as a reader since I’m writing more. I see that you are examining so closely how action details are included as the character speaks. It’s a good exercise for students and might slow them down too rather than just looking. Thanks for showing what you’re doing.


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