A Novel in Notes
Challenge children to create their own stories using notes and letters with this activity.
- Grades: 3–5, 6–8
Sections of Wonderstruck are told through notes and letters. Challenge children to create their own stories using notes and letters with this activity.
What it teaches: Letter writing, creativity, character, plot
What you need: Stationery, student printable (“A Novel in Notes”)
What to do:
- Begin by discussing how the characters in Wonderstruck use notes and letters to communicate. Why is note writing so important to Rose and Ben, who are both deaf? What do we learn from the note-writing scenes in the story? (For example, when Rose goes to visit her mother at the theater, on pages 244–295, we learn a lot about their relationship through the notes they exchange.) Explain to your students that a story written in notes or letters is an “epistolary story.”
- Next, challenge children to tell their own stories using notes and letters between two characters in literature, history, or of their own invention. Distribute the student printable, which will help students to plan their work.
- When students are ready to start writing, encourage them to use different styles of handwriting (print or cursive, fancy or plain) and stationery for each of their characters. Students should think about how the characters’ personalities are reflected visually in the letters they exchange.
- Display the final letter sequences in a scrapbook or binder. Invite students to read and comment on one another’s work. What did students learn about character and plot through this exercise?