Opal School closed in 2021. You can continue to access these resources for free at teachingpreschoolpartners.org/resource-library/.

Genre Study: Slice of Life, Part One

Genre Study: Slice of Life, Part One

Opal 3 recently launched our first genre study of the year. For the past and next weeks, we are focusing our writing studies on what is called Slice of Life (SoL) writing. There are several ways to define SoL. In Opal 3, we presented this genre as writing that captures everyday pieces of our lives like slices out of a whole. The children compared it to a slice of bread out of the loaf, or a slice of pizza out of a large pie.

The children know that we are studying this kind of writing because they will be expected to produce a finished piece of writing in this genre, themselves. But first, we had to read, read, and read some more. By reading like writers, the children began building their schema for what it means to write an SoL story. 

Momma's kitchen

We began by observing what kind of topics are included in SoL writing, which inspired the children to make connections to these “slices” in their own lives. For example, we read In My Momma's Kitchen by Jerdine Nolen, which recounts several stories from her childhood, all set, of course, in her momma's kitchen. In their Writer's notebooks that day, the children let Jerdine Nolen inspire "Slice of Food" memories from their own lives:

"My aunt's Christmas donut-eating contest. Me and my family all go to the basement. My dad and uncles all hang donuts. I choose glazed. Me and Aunt Margaret step up to the stage. The music starts … 'Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way!' and on and on. I jump up. I got it. My aunt just got one. I won!" – SK

"My mouth is watering for some mashed potatoes and marshamallow yams. The kitchen is covered in a Thanksgiving mess (from making dinner). I run in the dining room. I inhale. It smells like garlic onions. The turnkey and the potatoes and the yams sparkled in the light. It made me want to eat it 'cause the grazy on the turkey and the butter shimmered on the yams. My mouth watered for some turkey with gravy." – AI

"Milky Way. As soon as you take a bite you want another, because it's caramel and chocolate goodness and the chocolate starts to melt in your mouth. Sparks explode in your mouth. Your mouth will party for as long as the flavor burns in your mouth. … But when you finish it, it's sad. You have none left and at that point, the party's over." – AA

The next week, we went back to our mentor texts (see list at the bottom of the post), to study more closely what each writer did to make their writing so compelling.


Charts such as this helped us compile a list of important elements for Slice of Life writing that will guide us as we begin drafting and preparing final Slice of Life pieces. This past week, each child re-read through their notebooks, reviewing all of their seeds inspired by published SoL authors, and chose one to “plant”. Each seed will grow into a finished published piece to be included in an Opal 3 Slice of Life Anthology for our library, sitting right alongside the published pieces, with which we began our genre study.


P.S. Here are some other "slices" we've been studying:

Slice of Place / Neighborhood:

Chinatown  Chinatown, by William Low

Slice of Motion:

Roller coaster  Roller Coaster, by Marla Frazee

Slice of Night:

Night driving   Night Driving, by John Coy

Slice of Weather:

Snow DaySnow Day!, by Lester Laminack


Slice of Family:

Hello Goodbye Window  The Hello, Goodbye Window by Norton Juster