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Writing: A Writer's Ear

Writer's Theatre


Today's Snack: If you're going to be at a theatre, even though it's a writer's theatre, you probably need the basic theatre snack - popcorn! Have a tall glass of juice, on ice, to wash down that salty goodness.




Print out the checklist, below, for each participant

and distribute with pencils,

or project them on a big screen

and use as post-reading evaluation questions


You can get a really good idea of how fluent your writing is by listening to someone else read it aloud.

So get together with at least one other student. Each of you write a story or a paper.

Use your school's stage, or set up a mini-stage, even if it's just an open space in the room, and set up some chairs for the "audience."

Then read aloud your partner's story or paper, and listen to him or her read yours aloud.

You can assemble an audience of parents, siblings, grandparents, babysitters, neighbor kids, etc., too, if you really want an idea of how your writing "sounds."


Print out the checklist, below, and have a copy for each member of your Writer's Theatre "audience" - including the writer -- for them to "score" how each story or paper sounds. You might prefer to give these "reviews" to each writer privately, or share them as a group.



Writer's Theatre "Reviews"


1.      Are any sentences so long that the reader runs out of breath? That could signal run-on sentences.


2.      Does any part sound short and choppy?  If so, there may be sentence fragments that need to be rewritten as complete sentences. Or the writer used too many simple sentences, some of which could be combined.


3.      Are there any incomplete thoughts that confuse you, or leave you hanging? They might need to be expanded and rewritten so that they are complete sentences that communicate the meaning better.


4.      Do several sentences begin in the same way? Rewrite with more variety in sentence starts.


5.      Do several sentences sound the same?  If so, rework and add more variety.


6.      Do all the sentences seem to be of the same length? If so, rewrite some to add variety.


7.      Does the reader get confused and have to re-read any parts? If so, look at how the sentences are connected to each other. Make clear transitions so that the relationship between ideas is more clear.


8.      Does it sound like the way a person would normally speak?  If not, rewrite the sentences to sound more like human speech.


9.      Do any areas of the reading sound effortless, flowing, and rhythmic? If so, these areas contain good sentence fluency.  


10. Do any areas invite expressive, oral reading? Congratulations! Good sentence fluency.



By Susan Darst Williams Writing 2010


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