Friday, December 7, 2007

Writing Books with Children: An Update

For the past week we've been exploring types of stories and preparing the kids to write one of their own. We began last week by listing out the types of stories we could think of. This is the list the kids came up with (Ok so it's been some time since we changed the date on the chalkboard...I'm sure it has nothing to do with why my K-er keeps asking what day it is...) and it looked pretty good. Can you tell I took the picture after the tree was up?

This week we've spent some time reading aloud a few story genres. Our current read aloud happens to be autobiographical fiction (The Long Winter) and we read a Greek myth about Hercules. We reviewed Pumpkin Runner and why that is considered a tall tale. We talked about Johnny Appleseed and Paul Bunyan and folklore. We read a fairytale and a Christmas story that is a legend. E9 reads fantasy all the time with is Redwall series.

The older kids spent time with dictation passages experiencing in detail some different choices authors can make. One passage was a paragraph that described a character in the book. One included dialogue so we could review how to use the punctuation. One was a paragraph that gave a very clear visual and takes you right there with the words. Hopefully we'll see some of these strategies come up in their own stories.

I've also spent time with the kids developing and editing their own stories. I-5 is working on an incredible story about a man who visits Mars after building a rocket and a rover. R7 is writing more poetry and has decided on a collection of her poems as her book. We'll be talking about how she'll arrange her poems within the book and editing some errors. She learned about acrostic poems today and wrote one from Christmas. Dan helped compose a poem from her first name this cute. E9 is working on an autobiography of sorts describing out day to get the Christmas tree. His composition is quite good. I can't wait to share some excerpts in an update. He has definitely taken us right there with his words. I'm anxious to hear how this story ends.

Next week we'll be working on layout and text design. Then we'll move on to illustrations and page arrangements. We will be making a hardbound cover for each one so once I have those directions squared away, I'll be sure to post pictures or easier directions.

Stay tuned as we continue to author wonderful children's books.

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