Category Archives: Reading Enrichment

L. Arts Mini Spark #50 – Report Writing

The purpose of news report writing is to inform an audience. A report is a story that is currently happening or that just happened. Writing a news report is easy if you report on the subject clearly and write in a style that is clear, concise, and active. One should gather answers to the 5 W’s and H questions while writing about an event or something that happened.

1 – Watch this video about the basics of writing a news report.

2 – Complete the following activities and email a photo of each to your EY Coordinator.

3 – Visit, Scholastic Kids Press. Select an article and identify the 5 W’s in the story.

L. Arts Mini Spark #49 – Descriptive Writing

The primary purpose of descriptive writing is to describe a person, place or thing in such a way that a picture is formed in the reader’s mind. Capturing an event through descriptive writing involves paying close attention to the details by using all of your five senses.

Watch this TedEd Video.

In the video, the narrator describes the characteristics of descriptive writing and gives several examples. To review . .

1. Good descriptive writing includes many vivid sensory details that paint a picture and appeals to all of the reader’s senses of sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste when appropriate. Descriptive writing may also paint pictures of the feelings the person, place or thing invokes in the writer.

2. Good descriptive writing often makes use of figurative language such as analogies, similes and metaphors to help paint the picture in the reader’s mind.

3. Good descriptive writing uses precise language. General adjectives, nouns, and passive verbs do not have a place in good descriptive writing. Use specific adjectives and nouns and strong action verbs to give life to the picture you are painting in the reader’s mind.

4. Good descriptive writing is organized. Some ways to organize descriptive writing include: chronological (time), spatial (location), and order of importance. When describing a person, you might begin with a physical description, followed by how that person thinks, feels and acts.

Give it a try! For the following sentences, rewrite it using rich descriptive languages. Keep the five senses in mind. You can use the following and rewrite each OR use one as a prompt and write a descriptive paragraph or story story.

  • Sight – The girls went to the city park.
  • Sound/Hearing – We went to the stadium to watch our favorite team.
  • Smell – The waitress brought our food to the table.
  • Taste – My grandma made us cookies.
  • Touch – I walked to school this morning not knowing they had called a snow day.

L. Arts Mini-Spark #48: Literary Device (Flashbacks)

When it comes to writing, you always want to be learning more. Why? Because the more you know, the better your writing will be. There’s are many literary devices writers can use (watch for future posts), but do not try to use every single literary device in a single piece. For this mini-spark, we will focus on Flashbacks.

Flashbacks in literature are when the narrator goes back in time for a specific scene or chapter in order to give more context for the story. Oftentimes, we see flashbacks in books where the past greatly impacts the present or as a way to start a story off on an interesting note.

Watch this clip for Ratatouille where food critic, Anton Ego flashes back to his childhood.

Think about what Anton Ego experienced while having a flashback. Have you ever tasted or smelled something and experienced a flashback. Tell us about it in the comments!

L. Arts Mini-Spark #47: Blackout Poetry

blackout poem is when a poet takes a marker (usually black marker/Sharpie) to already established text–like in a newspaper–and starts redacting words until a poem is formed. The key thing with a blackout poem is that the text AND redacted text form a sort of visual poem. When only the chosen words are visible, a brand new story is created!

Blackout poems can be created using the pages of old books or even articles cut from yesterday’s newspaper. Using the pages of an existing text, blackout poets isolate then piece together single words or short phrases from these texts to create lyrical masterpieces. Blackout poems, as I’m sure you can imagine, run the gamut from absurd to sublime because all of the words are already there on the page, but the randomness is all part of the fun!  We truly believe a poem lives within the words and lines of any page, and encourage you to uncover it.

Creating a blackout poem involves steps that are all about deconstruction then reconstruction. 

Step 1: Scan (or cut out) the page or article first before reading it completely. Keep an eye out for an anchor word as you scan. An anchor word is one word on the page that stands out to you because it is packed and loaded with meaning and significance.  Starting with an anchor word is important because it helps you to imagine possible themes and topics for your poem.

Step 2: Now read the page of text in its entirety. Use a pencil to lightly circle any words that connect to the anchor word and resonate with you. Resonant words might be expressive or evocative, but for whatever reason, these are the words on the page that stick with you. Avoid circling more than three words in a row.

Step 3: List all of the circled words on a separate piece of paper. List the words in the order that they appear on the page of text from top to bottom, left to right. The words you use for the final poem will remain in this order so it doesn’t confuse the reader.

Step 4: Select words, without changing their order on the list, and piece them together to create the lines of a poem. You can eliminate parts of words, especially any endings, if it helps to keep the meaning of the poem clear. Try different possibilities for your poem before selecting the lines for your final poem. If you are stuck during this step, return back to the original page of text. The right word you are searching for could be there waiting for you.

Step 5: Return to the page of text and circle only the words you selected for the final poem.  Remember to also erase the circles around any words you will not be using.

Step 6: Add an illustration or design to the page of text that connects to your poem. Be very careful not to draw over the circled words you selected for your final poem!

Source: https://www.scholastic.com/teachers/blog-posts/john-depasquale/blackout-poetry/

L. Arts Mini-Spark #46: Like to Read? Check out Tween Tribune!

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Are you an enthusiastic reader who likes to read current event articles from a variety of sources? Check out…………Tween Tribune!

Tween Tribune consists of daily news sites and includes text, photos, graphics, and audio and/or video materials prepared by the Smithsonian and others about current events, history, art, culture and science.

It’s easy find articles:

  • Go to http://tweentribune.com
  • Select a Grade Level at the top (K-4, 5-8, or 9-12)
  • Scan the articles and select one (or more) to read
  • Post a comment.  In your comment, please do the following:
    • Include your name, grade and school (Trevor, 3, Sunset)
    • Summarize the article and/or type a question you have after reading the article
    • Answer the Critical Thinking Challenge found at the end of the article

Enjoy!

 

L. Arts Mini-Spark #45: Khan Academy Reading Comprehension Practice!

Did you know that Khan Academy just released the first version of reading comprehension practice on Khan Academy? And, it is grouped by grade level:

Khan Academy recommends starting at your grade level and doing 1-2 practice sets per day (or 10 practice sets per week). This should take about 10-20 minutes per day.  If you find it difficult, completely okay to start at an earlier grade level. Likewise, if you find the passages and questions to be easy, feel free to move to higher grade levels. 

Khan Academy also has a grammar section: https://www.khanacademy.org/humanities/grammar

Khan recommends starting by taking the course challenge a few times to figure out what you know and don’t know.

This is a great way to practice reading comprehension & grammar while you’re learning at home!  Challenge yourselves! Enjoy!

L. Arts Mini-Spark #44: Learn about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Source: https://www.ducksters.com/biography/martin_luther_king_jr.php

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

  • Occupation: Civil Rights Leader
  • Born: January 15, 1929 in Atlanta, GA
  • Died: April 4, 1968 in Memphis, TN
  • Best known for: Advancing the Civil Rights Movement and his “I Have a Dream” speech

Biography:

Martin Luther King, Jr. was a civil rights activist in the 1950s and 1960s. He led non-violent protests to fight for the rights of all people including African Americans. He hoped that America and the world could become a colorblind society where race would not impact a person’s civil rights. He is considered one of the great orators of modern times, and his speeches still inspire many to this day.

Where did Dr. King grow up?

Martin Luther King, Jr. was born in Atlanta, GA on January 15, 1929. He went to Booker T. Washington High School. He was so smart that he skipped two grades in high school. He started his college education at Morehouse College at the young age of fifteen. After getting his degree in sociology from Morehouse, Martin got a divinity degree from Crozer Seminary and then got his doctor’s degree in theology from Boston University.

Martin’s dad was a preacher which inspired Martin to pursue the ministry. He had a younger brother and an older sister. In 1953 he married Coretta Scott. Later, they would have four children including Yolanda, Martin, Dexter, and Bernice.

How did he get involved in civil rights?

In his first major civil rights action, Martin Luther King, Jr. led the Montgomery Bus Boycott. This started when Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus to a white man. She was arrested and spent the night in jail. As a result, Martin helped to organize a boycott of the public transportation system in Montgomery. The boycott lasted for over a year. It was very tense at times. Martin was arrested and his house was bombed. In the end, however, Martin prevailed and segregation on the Montgomery buses came to an end.

When did Dr. King give his famous “I Have a Dream” speech?

In 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr. helped to organize the famous “March on Washington”. Over 250,000 people attended this march in an effort to show the importance of civil rights legislation. Some of the issues the march hoped to accomplish included an end to segregation in public schools, protection from police abuse, and to get laws passed that would prevent discrimination in employment.

It was at this march where Martin gave his “I Have a Dream” speech. This speech has become one of the most famous speeches in history. The March on Washington was a great success. The Civil Rights Act was passed a year later in 1964.

How did he die?

Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968 in Memphis, TN. While standing on the balcony of his hotel, he was shot by James Earl Ray.

Interesting Facts about Martin Luther King, Jr.

  • Dr. King was the youngest person to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964.
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is a national holiday.
  • At the Atlanta premier of the movie Gone with the Wind, Martin sang with his church choir.
  • There are over 730 streets in the United States named after Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • One of his main influences was Mohandas Gandhi, who taught people to protest in a non-violent manner.
  • He was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
  • The name on his original birth certificate is Michael King. This was a mistake, however. He was supposed to be named after his father who was named for Martin Luther, the leader of the Christian reformation movement.
  • He is often referred to by his initials MLK.

Think you’ve got it? Take a quiz to see how much you learned about this great man!

 

L. Arts Mini-Spark #43: Snow Days!

With winter comes cold, snow, and ice! Sometimes, that cold, snow, and ice can lead to a snow day for students! What do you like to do on a snow day?
Go to Wonderopolis to read the article, “What’s the Best Thing to do on a Snow Day?”. Then, in the comments below, write what you like to do best on a snow day.

After you’re done with Wonderopolis, click on the video at the bottom to listen and read along with The Cat in the Hat to see what Sally and her brother do on a rainy day!

L. Arts Mini-Spark #42: Ancient Origins of Halloween

Halloween’s origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in). The Celts, who lived 2,000 years ago, mostly in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom and northern France, celebrated their new year on November 1.

This day marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter, a time of year that was often associated with human death. Celts believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. On the night of October 31 they celebrated Samhain, when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth.

In addition to causing trouble and damaging crops, Celts thought that the presence of the otherworldly spirits made it easier for the Druids, or Celtic priests, to make predictions about the future. For a people entirely dependent on the volatile natural world, these prophecies were an important source of comfort during the long, dark winter.

To commemorate the event, Druids built huge sacred bonfires, where the people gathered to burn crops and animals as sacrifices to the Celtic deities. During the celebration, the Celts wore costumes, typically consisting of animal heads and skins, and attempted to tell each other’s fortunes.

When the celebration was over, they re-lit their hearth fires, which they had extinguished earlier that evening, from the sacred bonfire to help protect them during the coming winter.

By 43 A.D., the Roman Empire had conquered the majority of Celtic territory. In the course of the 400 years that they ruled the Celtic lands, two festivals of Roman origin were combined with the traditional Celtic celebration of Samhain.

The first was Feralia, a day in late October when the Romans traditionally commemorated the passing of the dead. The second was a day to honor Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruit and trees. The symbol of Pomona is the apple, and the incorporation of this celebration into Samhain probably explains the tradition of bobbing for apples that is practiced today on Halloween.

Based on this information, you can see that traditions cover centuries and adapt to the changing times.

What Halloween or Fall traditions does your family practice?
Share in the comments below!

Source: https://www.history.com/topics/halloween/history-of-halloween