Letters About Literature – Building a Foundation

Class began the usual way. The WA had students reviewing power sentences today, and they had to determine which sentence out of the two below was NOT a PS and be able to explain why:

Covered in dry scales, the lizard slithered over the red-hot sand.

As salty tears rolled down my flushed cheeks, the others guffawed and pointed, embarrassing me even more.

The second sentence is NOT a power sentence because, even though it is very descriptive and uses a strong verb, the beginning clause does not describe the subject (the others). If you look at the first example, the subject of the sentence is “the lizard” and the first part of the sentence does describe the lizard.

After going over this, students received the rubric for the Letters About Literature assignment, and they had time to look over it before I answered questions. You can view the rubric for the assignment here.

I stressed with students the importance of two things: 1) This is NOT a fan letter. You are not writing to the author to tell them how much you love him/her or to gush about how good the book was. 2) This is NOT a summary of the book. The author doesn’t need to know what happened in the book. They wrote it! Your task is to write about how the book IMPACTED you. How did it make a difference in your life? What did you learn from it? How did it help you through a tough time? How did it change you?

In order to prepare students for beginning this writing process tomorrow, the cycled through three different pre-writing stations today, each station going over an important skill and allowing them time to think about how that will be applied to their own work. The pre-writing activities for each station are attached below:

Letters About Literature- Pre-Writing Stations

After cycling through the stations, students had time to finish the RACER prompt they began yesterday. I encouraged them to use the yellow rubric (attached below) as a checklist.

Racer and Beware the Thunder Rubric

We ended class with watching some CNN10. Click here to watch today’s episode of CNN10.


  1. Read for 25 minutes.
  2. Complete at least one of the LAL pre-writing activities
  3. Book talk reflection (if this applies to you)