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S.A.

Shubitz 1
PREVIEW OF CRAFT TABLE FROM The Pencil by Allan Ahlberg – Reading-Writing Connections

Craft Move Page Overarchin Why the Author Might Be Doing This…
Number( g Idea
s)
Capitalized Pgs. 12, Come after
Words After 22, 40, ellipses to Writers often capitalize words to call attention to make a word stand apart
Ellipses and 43 show from the rest of the text. Ahlberg does this in several places in his writing,
emphasis but he frequently capitalizes words after he uses points of ellipses, which
after a are three dots that look like three periods in a row. I think he uses these
pause or points of ellipses when he wants his reader to think about what happens
after a trail next. But then, after he gets the reader to think, he uses big, bold, capital
off. letters to really emphasize the word(s) that follow. Let’s take a look at the
way Ahlberg uses ellipses on page 11. I think he was trying to create some
suspense when he wrote, ‘The pencil hesitated, frowned, looked thoughtful
for a while, and drew…’ Before he wrote ‘A PAINTBRUSH’ on page 12 in
large, capital letters. This emphasized the word paintbrush, which you may
or may not have realized would be what was coming next. In fact, the
same thing happened with Ahlberg’s use of capital letters after points of
ellipses on pages 22, 40, and 43 of this book. Did you notice that?
(Examine those places alongside the student.) Using capital letters after
you create some suspense for your writer is a great way to emphasize your
point. This is certainly something you can try in your writing, just like
Ahlberg did in The Pencil, today and any day you’re trying to make a point
after you made your reader ponder for a bit.
Capitalized Pgs. 20, Emphasis When an author wants to call attention to a particular word or phrase in a
Words Within 24, 26, on text, they dothings to that word or to a phrase to make it stand out. For
Prose 30, and emotions instance, Ahlberg emphasizes words by using capital letters. Additionally,
42 or amounts when the font gets really big it emphasizes the words and brings greater
(could be attention to a phrase that represents what the character is thinking. Using
divided into text features, like capital letters and larger font size makes something stand
two out to a reader… it lets the reader know, “Hey, this is important!”
sections)
Em Dashes Pgs. 16, Used Throughout the story Ahlberg uses something called em dashes when he
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S.A. Shubitz 2
PREVIEW OF CRAFT TABLE FROM The Pencil by Allan Ahlberg – Reading-Writing Connections

20, 24, instead of wants to emphasize words or shift gears by changing a thought. An em
26, 28, commas, dash is the width of the letter m (it’s like a longer version of a hyphen) and
30, 38, colons or is used in informal writing. Let’s look at a few places in The Pencil where
44, 45, parenthese Ahlberg uses em dashes.
and 47 s for added
• On page 16, Ahlberg inserts information in-between the em dashes.
emphasis,
a change of In this case, he provides more information about the type of friend
thought or Bruce by including that information within those em dashes. In fact,
for some on page 20, Ahlberg used em dashes several times on the page.
kind of However, towards the end of the page, we learn that Mildred asked
interruption for the kittens within those em dashes. In both of these cases, em
. dashes were used instead of commas or parentheses. (If the student
requires an additional example, see pg. 30, 45, or 47.)
• Em dashes can also be used instead of colons. For instance, that’s
exactly what you will notice about the way Ahlberg used em dashes
on page 24; he used em dashes instead of colon before the words
“hats and ears and such.”
• Advanced Option: An em dash can also be used in an interrupting
sort of way. In fact, there’s a little parody on page 38 when the
words “Oh, my!” are injected after the em dash (the words “lions and
tigers and bears” precedethe em dash). In this case the em dash is
used in more of a satirical way in that it interrupts the flow of the
writing.
Ellipses in Pgs. 11, Gets the Writers use points of ellipses, which are three dots that look like three
Prose 21, 39, reader to periods in a row, when an idea trails off of when they the reader to think
and 42 think about about what will happen next. Let’s take a look at the way Ahlberg uses
what will ellipses on page 11. I think he was trying to create some suspense when he
happen wrote, ‘The pencil hesitated, frowned, looked thoughtful for a while, and
next. drew…’ Before he wrote ‘A PAINTBRUSH’ on page 12. In fact, the same
thing happened on pages 21 and 22. Do you notice that? In fact, Ahlberg
used ellipses in this way two more times in the text (pgs. 39 – 40 and 42 –
43) when he wanted to create some kind of suspense for the reader. This is
This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License. To view a copy of this license, visit
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/ or send a letter to Creative Commons, 171 Second Street, Suite 300, San Francisco, California, 94105, USA.
S.A. Shubitz 3
PREVIEW OF CRAFT TABLE FROM The Pencil by Allan Ahlberg – Reading-Writing Connections

something you can try in your own writing when you’re writing. If you want
to get your reader to pause and think about what will happen next, then
you can use ellipses to signal for your reader to pause before going on with
your writing just like Ahlberg did in The Pencil.
Repetition of Pgs. 4, 6, Predictable Authors often repeat words or phrases to get their readers to pay closer
Conversation 13 Patterns attention or to make their pieces sound more rhythmic. In fact, there are
Styles (Maybe some predictable patterns on pages 4, 6, and 13 in this book. Let’s look at
19) them together. (Reread the patterns on pages 4, 6, and 13. Then ask the
student, “What do you notice about the way Ahlberg used repetition of
conversation styles?” Elicit. Discuss.)

You can strategically create a predictable pattern in your writing by


purposely repeating a phrase a few times throughout your narrative.

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License. To view a copy of this license, visit
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/ or send a letter to Creative Commons, 171 Second Street, Suite 300, San Francisco, California, 94105, USA.