One of the most used resources for writing for my three oldest children when they were growing up is called Read! Write! Publish! Making Books in the Classroom”, by Creative Teaching Press.
I got it early in our homeschooling journey (of 15 years!) so I didn’t think it was still purchasable, but I found it here!
Basically, it is a book about making books, and the format is SO easy for the children to do on their own. Each type of book has a two page layout. The first page shows visually how to make the book and if you need to have a “blank formatting page” (found at the back of the book). The second page shows visual samples of how others created diverse books from the foundation. So, all I did was provide a stack of the various blank pages available for the books provided in the back of the book as well as other materials needed such as regular blank paper, tagboard, and other such items.
This is an especially useful tool for the right-brained learner. These children tend to develop traditionally valued writing (words to paper) later, not to mention they often dislike handwriting while young as well. Many of the books to be made in this resource capitalize on the right-brained learner’s assets: visual, three-dimensional, pictorial, creative.
Some of the more popular books for my creative learners to make were: Pop-Up Book (makes sense, since it is three-dimensional!), Video Book (again, makes sense . . . it’s a picture slide show), Flip Book (again, humor mixed with pictures with minimal words), Wheel Book (making a visual with a wheel that turns), etc.
What I think this resource showed my creative learners was that books are fun, and making books are fun . . . the words and writing were secondary for many of these book ideas, so the focus was on expressing their ideas in the way that works for them, and then appreciating that they were “writing books”. There was no “writing phobia” or “dysgraphia” that surfaced because of this approach 🙂
I’m so excited that the resource is still out there . . . I highly recommend it. Of course, if you want the potential benefits of what happened with my diverse children, you would want to use it as a resource they can use anyway they want. 🙂 For instance, here are some of the “books” that I pulled out of my oldest son’s 8-year-old files that I know were “inspired” after using this resource as well as interrelating with various types of books:
Notice that he still wrote certain letters backward, particularly “S” and “J”. He told his story more in his drawing than in the writing. In this “book” (10 pages total), which he had stapled together on plain paper, were simply labels of each picture, although as you go through the pictures, there is a story there. The last page has the declaration, “What a fliat” (flight), so there is also “invented spelling” still.
This one I was able to give as a complete sample. This is when he was really into penguins. My focus on admiring his work was on the overall representation of a story, not the parts that made each up, such as the continued backward letters, invented spelling, or that there were minimal words, let alone basically labeling or putting phrases versus “complete sentences”. It was all a process, and I was amazed by how the pictures and words combined to create a lot of feeling and plot.
This is a dinosaur activity book. He loved dinosaurs from around 3-4 years old until around this time. In this book, he did a little of everything. He started off with a few pages of labels, then a few pages of traditional activity pages, and then a mini story at the end. It was a total of 14 pages and I took a page sample from each “category.”
He had a couple Lion King story books in this folder, stapled together, about 40 pages each. Again, it was a mix of words and pictures that together created a really awesome storyline. In the samples above, I liked the perspective that one often sees in a right-brained learner’s pictures, with the back of the lions’ heads looking on the scene, as well as a simple outline of the lions’ bodies running down the hill. Cool!
Eric loved Africa for a good season. Here was a “book” compiled on that unperforated computer paper that you could buy in the day where it is “continuous fed and unperforated paper” so that it lies accordian style and you have to tear off the hole-punched side feed. My children used this type of paper a LOT back when. This was about a 70 page compilation and it pretty much consisted of labeling the various animals of Africa. This is how he learned about his continents and countries . . . his fascination with animals and his need to know everything about them, particularly where they lived and why and how.
There were other books in his folder. One type that showed up a lot around 9 years old were “Colorform books”. I guess I had purchased some Colorforms around that time, and he decided to make his own based on his favorite interests. He would draw and color a background scene, and then meticulously draw, color and cut out the “forms” that you would play on the scene. He would then tuck these cut-outs into an envelope, which he labeled, and stuck in the place they belonged within the book pages.
So, what I saw was that once this initial resource showed my children that they could make their own books of all sorts of types and styles and functions and focus, they began to make books of their own creation often inspired by other resources that came into the home. They discovered that even if you couldn’t find a particular resource about their favorite interest, they could create it themselves! For a right-brained learner, I think it’s all about resources that inspire, not resources that dictate.