Teach Writing Craft with Target Skills

Teach Writing Craft with Target Skills
Marcia S. Freeman and Susan Koehler
Excerpted, with permission from

FINAL FRONT COVER TINY.jpgWriting-craft Target Skills—those specific techniques that all good writers use to effectively craft clear and compelling fiction and non-fiction—are best taught through explicit modeling. Add variety and versatility to your K-8 writing classroom by modeling a wide assortment of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry selections, ranging from picture books to intermediate texts. Here is a sample lesson to teach the question ending technique that includes some good models for your class.

Question endings lead readers toward introspection, asking them to think about the main idea of the book or their connection to that idea.

Young Nicholas knew that he had finally found his treasure—in the pages of a book. Where will you find your treasure?

Question endings act as an open invitation to the readers to learn more or to apply what they have learned in the book to future experiences. The question might also serve as a very short summary of the main idea.

Question endings are generally easy for children to learn to write and are appropriate for young writers. Read several literature models that demonstrate well-written question endings that lead the reader into critical thinking.

A sampling of literature models:
Clifford, We Love You by Norman Bridwell (picture book)
Dogs Don’t Wear Sneakers by Laura Joffe Numeroff (picture book)
“Forgotten Language” by Shel Silverstein (poem)
My Hands by Aliki (non-fiction)
The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss (picture book)