Teaching and encouraging kiddos to write is a mammoth task for teachers and adult mentors. Of course, there are books written about the challenge, but dry text just doesn’t inspire kids. Sometimes, I stumble across titles that I find helpful.
Here are a few personal choices worth checking out. (Nobody needs to know if you choose to keep these on your own book shelf as a fun reference.)
Words are Categorical series</span> by Brian P. Cleary (Lerner Publishing- various releases) Especially helpful for kinder-3rd grade.
This series includes 13 separate titles each dedicated to a particular part of speech including; nouns, verbs, adverbs, adjectives, similes, homonyms, homophones, synonyms, pronouns, and antonyms. Words are Categorical make it fun and simple. Each book is structured in fun and colorful verse. For example: “Adverbs tell us when and how. Like quickly do your homework now.”
Nothing Ever Happens on 90th Street by Roni Schotter (Scholastic, 1997) Eva wants to write, but feels that nothing interesting happens in her neighborhood. Doesn’t every child feel that way? This title illustrates for kids that “stuff” really does happen all around them if they simply learn the power of observation.
Show; Don’t Tell! Secrets of Writing by Josephin Nobisso (Gingerbread House Publishing, 2004)A colorfully appealing cover and illustrations along with a wise cast of animal characters will draw kids to this book. The story unfolds with examples of the powerful tool of the daydream to inspire writers. Readers learn the importance of injecting sensory details into their writing to make the story come alive. There is even a surprise sound feature at the end- encouraging the writer to describe the sound.
Once Upon a Time, the End : Asleep in 60 Seconds by Geoffrey Kloske (Simon & Schuster, 2005) This is a hilarious compilation of familiar fairy tales and bed time stories with a twist. They have each been stripped down to the most skeletal form, eliminating extraneous, even descriptive verbage. Somewhat like a preliminary story board. For example: “Grandma’s gone. Wolf in her cap. Girl at the door. Tap, tap.” It had might as well include a narrator’s voice, “Just the facts M’am.” It’s a funny read for adults who know the full stories by rote memory. I think this book is an interesting lesson for kids in thinking about the core of any story.