I recently helped judge a story writing contest, and one of the criteria on the assessment form I was provided was: Does the story have a beginning, middle and end? As I began reading the entries, I quickly discovered that this was not useful assessment criteria.
The best touchstone texts are sophisticated enough to work across multiple grade and comprehension levels. One of the first—and still one of the most frequent—touchstone texts that I used was THE LEAVING MORNING by Angela Johnson. Here are just a few of the brilliant craft strategies my students and I have discovered in it:
The story below is one of my favorites from our 2011 anthology, probably because I envy the author a bit. Click the video below to follow along as Cody reads it, then I’ll tell you why I’m jealous. Get the video and read more here. Written for Indiana Partnership for Young Writers