Mentor Monday 4/28/14: Writing Strong Endings

Something about this week’s topic makes me think of the end of the school year. Does anyone have students that act up more as the school year comes to a close? I always had a few! We even had little pep talks during morning meetings about whether we were finishing strong or finishing wrong. Examples of finishing strong and finishing wrong became a hot discussion topic.

When we think about a strong ending in books what comes to mind? For some strange reason the famous ending in Gone With The Wind pops into head! I will not be using Rhett and Scarlet’s famous goodbye as an example of a strong ending with my kiddos, (hee hee) or with this Mentor Monday topic. If you’ve read the book or seen the movie it is a strong ending, don’t you agree? There’s a certain hopefulness in Scarlet’s voice when she says, “Tomorrow is another day.” Even after all her, “I won’t think about that now. I think about it tomorrow” lines. Instead of pushing unwanted thoughts aside, she was willing to embrace the future. Perhaps Scarlet did grow into a dynamic character after all!

Strong endings may cause the reader to ponder, reflect, question, imagine, feel surprised and/or satisfied (possibly). They stir up our emotions, or help a character come full circle. It may be one last opportunity for us to connect to characters in a special way. I found a wonderful resource online you may want to bookmark for future reference when thinking about endings. The whole document is actually full of great strategies, not just tips for writing strong endings.

When I teach strong endings, I bring in tons of picture books and read many examples. We classify them by asking what the writer did to make the ending strong. No, they didn’t write THE END in large letters with lots of exclamation points. C’mon- we all have a few kiddos that would love to do that, and have!

You can pull out Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak.  “And it was still hot.” sticks in your head, long after the book is over. Was this all just a dream Max had?
I invite you to check these books out for different kinds of strong endings:

1. Charlie Anderson by Barbara Abercrombie

2. Fireflies! by Julie Brinckloe

3. The Widow’s Broom by: Chris Van Allsburgh

4. The Relatives Came by: Cynthia Rylant

5. Tuesday by: David Weisner

This list provides the endings of LOTS picture books. I like that it’s categorized by the different kinds of endings. Go ahead and bookmark this one too! 🙂

I hope you enjoy these two resources I shared today. Feel free to link up your own post with your book suggestions. Thank you and have a great week!

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