Riding the Reading Roller Coaster:
Explore Interesting Writing Formats
It's fun to read books that are organized in nontraditional formats such as letters, diaries, journals, poetry, newspaper articles, or email. For example, Anne Frank: Diary of a Young Girl was a real diary. A Gathering of Days is a fictional journal.
Read other nontraditional formats such as Dear Mr. Henshaw, Nothing but the Truth, or Out of the Dust. Can you think of other books in this category?


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Danziger & Martin
Snail Mail No More
Snail Mail No More was written as a series of emails and instant messages. The authors actually wrote the book as a series of email messages. Without a story outline, they simply played the role of their character and wrote as that character. Think about how this format could be used for writing in your own classroom. Students could write as themselves or as a character from history.
Locate teachers, students, and classes using the following websites. Search for a teacher or class in a particular location or a class reading a particular book.
  • Epals - epal projects and now email for students
  • Gaggle - filtered email accounts for students

Realistic fiction and issues oriented topics are great for online discussions. Try some of the following books:

There are lots of possible applications of email in reading. Design an email exchange that would involve students in sharing messages over a distance. Create a "call for participation" that would ask another teacher or class to participate. Include answers to the following questions.
  • Topic/Title/Theme:
  • Overview of Activity:
  • Content Areas:
  • Outcomes/Standards:
  • Ages of Participants:
  • Participant Requirements:
  • Type/Level of Interaction:
  • Materials Needed:
  • Procedure:
  • Timeline:
  • Contact Person:
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Created by Annette Lamb, 1/01