This week’s inspiration is a combination of two things I’ve been “studying” and exploring with my own kids this summer. For the month of July we’ve been reading a new picture book each day, inspired by the book a day challenge. (This is the time of year that my Amazon cart is overflowing with my dream list of new books.) I’ve also been reading Joy Write by Ralph Fletcher and trying to model looking at the world as a writer. Part of living like a writer, is reading like a writer. Which is precisely what my oldest daughter, Wren, and I found ourselves doing as we read Mark Pett’s wordless book, The Girl and the Bicycle. Wren had snubbed her nose to this selection a few days prior, not interested in a book without words. But persistent mom pulled it back out a few days later, when she was a little less tired and a little more open minded. What pursued was magic. She had remembered my previous pitch and said, “This is the book we have to make up our own words for, right mom?”
So we set to work, studying the pictures and looking for clues about what was happening in the story. Wren pointed out what the people were doing in each picture. I quickly realized that the setting was something I needed to draw Wren’s attention to because it helped to show the passage of time and other important details she may have missed on her own. One read through together and Wren was sold. The Girl and the Bicycle has been her go to book and I’ve enjoyed listening to her different renditions and the details she adds each time she reads the book. You can hear a snippet here.
Today, we worked to put the lessons we learned from studying Mark Pett’s illustrations into our own drawings. We created some new characters, cut them out, and placed them into different settings that I drew in my notebook. This inspired my older daughters to create some of their own characters and to tell the stories that went along with the different scenes by moving the characters around. You can see some of this below:
As I observed the girls, creating, storytelling, and playing I wondered how we could replicate similar experiences in the workshop setting. How can we engage kids to read like writers and inspire them to mess about with trying out some of the lessons they learn in authentic and playful ways? This is something I’d like to continue studying with my own kids but also across grade levels back at school in the fall.
Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for hosting the Slice of Life. I started the Slice of Life challenge in March of 2017. I was inspired by the community of writers that I found. So I have continued to “Slice” every Tuesday. You can find out more and read other Slices here.