Over spring break, my daughter decided that we needed to read, aloud, a chapter of a book together. She would read; I would listen. The book she picked was the third in the Wedding Planner’s Daughter series.
Last night, as I sought relaxation and quiet in the bath tub, she picked up the book to read our chapter. The first sentence of the chapter caught my attention. The author started the chapter with an interestingly phrased description of anxiety or nervousness. The modifier followed the noun it was describing and ended the sentence.
I stopped the reading. “Is there another way you could say that?”
She looked at the sentence and changed the words demonstrating comprehension of the idea expressed.
“Right, but using the same words, could you express the same idea in a different manner?”
She moved the modifier in front of the noun.
“Which sounds better to you?”
Given my daughter’s love of writing and language, this was a fun exercise for her. In the past two months she has engaged in several discussions with her teacher about sentence structure and style with the teacher attempting to find a means of demonstrating how things can sound better when stated one way using the same basic wording.
We discussed the sentence a bit more and then moved on.
An hour later – and the chapter wasn’t that long – we had discussed the short sentence structure, where commas could have been used to link ideas, and the reasons that some books use shorter sentences.
“I would think that the book you just finished, the one about the girl named Disaster, had a different sentence structure used with more commas and such.”
“I didn’t notice.”
I have a strange feeling that she will start noticing the different ways that the authors choose to express their ideas through sentence structure after our conversation.
An hour, just one hour, and she started seeing books a bit differently.