1 in 5 people don’t wash their hands and of those who do, only 30% use soap.
Telling kids to wash their hands is one thing, but what if you could show them why it is so important? (I’m sure as teachers this sounds like a dream come true!) This year’s winner of the Eve Pownall Award, Don’t Lick This Book, does just that. In this funny and interactive picture book the reader takes Min the microbe on an adventure, picking up a whole array of different germs along the way. I challenge you not to wash your hands after you finish reading!
There are so many jumping off points from this text, but from a Seven Steps perspective it is a fantastic way to demonstrate how to use Step 5: Show, Don’t Tell to convey information effectively. The close-up shots of teeth, clothes and skin quite literally show the reader what life looks like under a microscope, while taking Min to these parts of their body shows how easily germs can be spread.
By showing rather than telling the reader, this informative text transforms an age-old message that most people ignore into a funny and engaging call to action.
While the primary purpose of informative writing is to give the reader information, it is important to give more than just facts in order to evoke the reader’s emotion. Adding humour, energy and impact helps ensure that the reader takes the information on board. In a world where we are flooded with information on a daily basis, this an essential part of creating a great informative text.
Step 5: Show, Don’t Tell Action Activity
- Once students are suitably grossed out by the fact that there are germs everywhere, introduce the following topic: What would life be like if there were no microbes?
- Get students to research the topic in groups, the following article is a good place to start: https://insh.world/science/what-would-life-be-like-in-a-world-without-microbes/.
- Ask each group to share their findings with the class.
- Make a class list of the top ten findings.
- Ask the groups to brainstorm how they could add humour, energy and impact to the facts to show, rather than tell the reader what life would be like.
- Get students to use the results of the group brainstorm to write a paragraph individually. Share some of the best examples with the class.
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