I have decided that my mentor text unit will be for second grade using the author Shirley Hughes. Shirley Hughes has an easy, flowing writing style. She adds descriptions and narrative in a simple manner. Sometimes you don’t even feel the story building up until SURPRISE there’s a problem that must be solved. Her stories usually deal with matters of the heart, especially for children – the lost stone, the misplaced stuffed animal, the child who is mean, being left out of the fun, or being alone. When doing this lesson I would probably do an author study of her, reading to the class all of my favorite Shirley Hughes books such as Dogger, Alfie Gives a Hand, Annie Rose is my Little Sister, Bonting, Here Comes the Bridesmaid, and Abel’s Moon. These are all picture books that exemplify her sweet, touching style. But all of her writing is not that simple. I might even read aloud some of the stories she wrote intended for older audiences, such as Angel Mae, Sea Singing, Enchantment in the Garden, It’s Too Frightening For Me!, The Bird Child or her version of Cinderella. Many of the stories for older students have interesting twists and are mind puzzlers.
But the book that I would use for the students to model this writing piece after (the mentor text) is the book entitled, Lucy and Tom at the Seaside. It’s a descriptive story about a day at the seaside.
To model for the students what I expect for them to write, not only will I read Lucy and Tom at the Seaside but I will also share with the students a story of my own writing, based upon my memories of going to the ocean on family vacations when I was a kid. So, in preparation of that, I am going to rework my fore-mentioned memory into a simple story. It will not be an on-going story, year after year, but a snapshot of one year. I cannot tell you exactly what year because the one-year-snapshot will be a compilation of the memories I build over a number of years.
(Note to self: Remember, second grade language!)
Summer had finally arrived. School is out. D and Sandra pack bags of things to do in the car during the long car ride from Texas to South Carolina. They pack books to read, cards to play games, and dolls to dress and comb. Mom is filling up a cooler with snacks while Dad is packing the car top carrier with suitcases.
The car ride seems to take forever. D keeps asking, “How many more hours until we get there?“ Dad gives D a map so that she can follow along – through the states – Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia. They drive all night. The kids lay down in the backseats and fall asleep. Finally, the next morning, they arrive in South Carolina.
Granny is so happy. She rushes out the front door even before they knock.
“Hug my neck,” she tells them, tears streaming down her face. Papa and Uncle Eddie follow behind Granny. For a moment it is just a big mixture of everyone taking turns hugging.
“We’re sure glad you’re here,” Papa tells them.
“Well, come on inside.” Granny says as she takes hold of Dad’s arm and pulls him in the direction of the house.
(some sort of transitional paragraph)
They walk the beach on Harbor Island. It’s more beautiful than D or Sandra had remembered from last year. They find a comfortable spot on the wet sand to build sandcastles. Mom sets up her lawn chair closer to the dunes, where the sand is dry and hot. As the girls build their castle, the warm water rushes up to them in rhythmic splashes, gently covering their toes, then their feet, then their ankles as the tide comes in.