Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Lulu and the Brontosaurus by Judith Viorst (Teaching Voice)

Lulu and the Brontosaurus, by Judith Viorst was a pleasant surprise for me. I chose this book last week at Vroman's Book Store in Pasadena from the clearance shelf. I figured since it was on sale, I'd give it a chance. If I didn't like it, no sweat!  I chose to read this book to my third grade group as they were assembled on the carpet in front of me, read-aloud style. I knew from the start that I had made the right choice in picking this book up. 

The take-away for teaching that came from this book is teaching VOICE. I had always used picture books in the past for teaching voice, and it was very successful. I had never really employed the use of a chapter book for this purpose...until now. Lulu, the main character, has a remarkable voice. By remarkable I mean that she is very memorable. The students understand that she is demanding, incorrigible, and selfish. They hear this voice not only in what she says, but in how she acts. In contrast, the brontosaurus, Mr. B, is kind, and gentle, and assertive. He also perseveres as is evidenced when he follows Lulu out of the forest. 

There are also three different endings that the author writes. The reader is able to choose which ending they liked best. My third graders debated between 1, 2, and 3, but the majority of my students liked the third ending the best. I preferred the second. :) That was a fun little twist, and also a great way to hone in on the fact that sometimes authors debate which ending would be best for a book. Offering the reader three different endings was a decidedly wonderful treat!

I also use some other mentor texts to teach Voice in writing:
Believe Me, Goldilocks Rocks! by Nancy Loewen

Today I Feel Silly& Other Moods that Make My Day by Jamie Lee Curtis

Bad Boys and Piggie Pie by Margie Palatini