Thursday, March 28, 2019

Slice of Life Story Challenge #28 - The Running Dream

My focus this month is to explore writing invitations, mostly through newly published picture books, but possibly some other mentor texts as well.

The Running DreamThe Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen

This is one of those books in my classroom library that I hadn't read, but kids raved about and recommended. I finally got around to listening to it on audio. I can see now why they loved it so much. Jessica, a track star at her school, loses her leg in a bus accident and thinks she will never run again. When she returns to school, her teacher seats her next to Rosa, a girl in a wheelchair with cerebral palsy whom everyone seemed to ignore. Jessica realizes she's wicked smart in math and fun to be around. They pass notes back and forth, and Rosa tutors Jessica to help save her math grade. Eventually they become friends. The two of them make an unlikely running team, but they end up surprising and inspiring everyone. This is a great follow up to our 5th grade common read, OUT OF MY MIND.

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The Quickwrite Handbook

     Today I'm straying from picture books.  This excerpt from The Running Dream from Linda Rief's wonderful new book, The Quickwrite Handbook, provides a powerful mentor text.  I've used it a couple times at professional learning experiences with teaching, and it always inspires heartfelt writing (and even a few tears)!  This is my attempt:

     That's what I do.
     That's who I am.
     Reading made my soul expand,
gave me glimpses in the mirror
and gazes out the window.
     It was that tree in my backyard and the one out by the creek
where I fell in love with reading.  Both tree and book gave me shelter
from the rain and shade from the sun.
     Anticipating the first page.
     Breathing in the air of characters.
     Turning pages sticky with stories.
   I loved devouring series after series under those trees...
     Nancy Drew, The Black Stallion, Little House on the Prairie, The Dark is Rising.
     Reading gave me a break from my own mind.
     It made me feel alive.
     And now?
     It still does.  I'm still a reader.


  1. I love this and was fortunate enough to study with her for a week many years ago. Thanks for the idea and the reminder.

  2. Love this and plan on using this with our readers (if not this year, bringing the kids in for next year)

    Thank you for sharing

  3. Love how you used the mentor text from The Running Dream. It's delightful that trees led you to your love of reading. I love this phrase, "turning pages sticky with stories."

  4. I love this book - we've used it a ton in my 8th and 10th grade classes this year! I've used this excerpt with both age groups and I loved the way they were able to dig in and highlight the pieces of their identity that they don't often feel are valued as much as how well they "do the work" of school. I learned so much about how my students see themselves from doing this quick write!

  5. Reading made my soul expand...what a lovely line. Black Stallion, Nancy Drew - we had similar reading lives. I've been reading this week a lot for fun and it feels good.

  6. Great book review and prompt. I think I need Linda's book.