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September 9, 2016 Picture Books That Inspire Student Writing By Kriscia Cabral
Grades PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8

    After students have decorated their writing notebooks with personal pictures, stickers, drawing, and more (see my post about Setting Up Writer's Notebooks), I turn to picture books to guide my first few lessons. Sometimes I use a book as a starting point — the story could be used as a place to get an idea for writing. Other times I use the book as a way to convey a message. The last way that I use a picture book in class is as an actual mentor text.

    Here are some of my favorite beginning-of-the-year picture books along with the prompts and ideas I use to get students started in their writing endeavors.

     

    First, Inspire

    Library Mouse by Daniel Kirk

    This is a story about Sam, a mouse who lives in the library. Sam begins to write books for the kids in the library and concludes the story with two very important messages for all writers: Write what you know and anyone can be an author!

    I start the year with this book because every student needs to know that they too can write great stories. I always finish this book by pulling out a handmade crafted replica of Sam’s Meet the Author box for kids to look inside of. They get a kick out of it!

     

    Then, Organize and Brainstorm

    Before I start with students, I offer an organization strategy. I suggest that all brainstorming and idea curating take place at the back of the writer's notebook. This way students can find all of their ideas in one place and all of their writing work in one place (at the front of the book).

    Awakening the Heart by Georgia Heard

    This is a teacher resource book. I use Heard’s idea of heart-mapping with my students. This is where students create a heart in their notebook and fill it with all of the things that are important to them. I show them examples and prompt students to: "Share about what has stayed in your heart. You can draw pictures to represent memories, people, places, anything that you value and have held onto inside your heart."

     

     

    I also use My Map Book by Sara Fanelli to show how Heard’s idea has connected to other books. Ruth Manna explains how to use this book as another place for students to gather ideas in her blog post, "Heart Maps and Writing." The book is filled with all kinds of maps. The idea that I prompt students to try here is, "Create your own maps of your bedroom, stomach, neighborhood, etc. The places that you value and remember spark memories and stories that can be told."

     

    Stuck by Oliver Jeffers

    Floyd’s kite gets stuck in a tree and soon, so does everything else. Floyd has to problem solve in order to get his kite out of the tree. I use this book to brainstorm with students what to do when we get stuck in our writing.

     

     

     

    Now, Get Writing

    This is about a week's worth of lessons that I go back to often with students. I have them take at least one idea from one of our many lessons and start writing a story about it. I leave the books that we used out and around the classroom for a while so students can refer to them and think back to the reason I read the story and the discussion we had. 

    Looking for a fabulous way to quick start student writing? Scholastic Printables offers writing prompts for the month. Click here to see the month of September! Easy, peasy place to start if you're looking for something that is quick and ready to print!

    What are books that you use to spark ideas and get your students writing? I'd love to add to the list!

    Thank you for reading!

    Follow me on Pinterest and Twitter!

    Smiles,

    Kriscia

     

     

     

    After students have decorated their writing notebooks with personal pictures, stickers, drawing, and more (see my post about Setting Up Writer's Notebooks), I turn to picture books to guide my first few lessons. Sometimes I use a book as a starting point — the story could be used as a place to get an idea for writing. Other times I use the book as a way to convey a message. The last way that I use a picture book in class is as an actual mentor text.

    Here are some of my favorite beginning-of-the-year picture books along with the prompts and ideas I use to get students started in their writing endeavors.

     

    First, Inspire

    Library Mouse by Daniel Kirk

    This is a story about Sam, a mouse who lives in the library. Sam begins to write books for the kids in the library and concludes the story with two very important messages for all writers: Write what you know and anyone can be an author!

    I start the year with this book because every student needs to know that they too can write great stories. I always finish this book by pulling out a handmade crafted replica of Sam’s Meet the Author box for kids to look inside of. They get a kick out of it!

     

    Then, Organize and Brainstorm

    Before I start with students, I offer an organization strategy. I suggest that all brainstorming and idea curating take place at the back of the writer's notebook. This way students can find all of their ideas in one place and all of their writing work in one place (at the front of the book).

    Awakening the Heart by Georgia Heard

    This is a teacher resource book. I use Heard’s idea of heart-mapping with my students. This is where students create a heart in their notebook and fill it with all of the things that are important to them. I show them examples and prompt students to: "Share about what has stayed in your heart. You can draw pictures to represent memories, people, places, anything that you value and have held onto inside your heart."

     

     

    I also use My Map Book by Sara Fanelli to show how Heard’s idea has connected to other books. Ruth Manna explains how to use this book as another place for students to gather ideas in her blog post, "Heart Maps and Writing." The book is filled with all kinds of maps. The idea that I prompt students to try here is, "Create your own maps of your bedroom, stomach, neighborhood, etc. The places that you value and remember spark memories and stories that can be told."

     

    Stuck by Oliver Jeffers

    Floyd’s kite gets stuck in a tree and soon, so does everything else. Floyd has to problem solve in order to get his kite out of the tree. I use this book to brainstorm with students what to do when we get stuck in our writing.

     

     

     

    Now, Get Writing

    This is about a week's worth of lessons that I go back to often with students. I have them take at least one idea from one of our many lessons and start writing a story about it. I leave the books that we used out and around the classroom for a while so students can refer to them and think back to the reason I read the story and the discussion we had. 

    Looking for a fabulous way to quick start student writing? Scholastic Printables offers writing prompts for the month. Click here to see the month of September! Easy, peasy place to start if you're looking for something that is quick and ready to print!

    What are books that you use to spark ideas and get your students writing? I'd love to add to the list!

    Thank you for reading!

    Follow me on Pinterest and Twitter!

    Smiles,

    Kriscia

     

     

     

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