Writing Week: A Means to an End

It’s Writing Week over here on the blog! Writing is one of my absolute favorite components of a balanced literacy program. I love the idea of kids writing their own personal stories to share with the world. We all have beautiful stories to share and I love the idea of empowering kids with the knowledge that their stories have the ability to impact the world for good.

So, as we kick off this week, I actually wanted to start with the END goal of writing. Which is, of course, to publish a book! Now before you start rolling your eyes and saying, “yeah right, I’m not going to get my five year old to publish book” I need you to change the way you think about publishing.

When I say publishing I don’t mean that your child has a book on Amazon complete with a designer cover. What I mean is that your child’s stories are valued, honored, read, and reread. They are placed in your highest esteem, whether it’s scribbles from a three year old just learning how to make lines on a paper, or a story written by your child, with words of invented or traditional spelling.

So what does this look like? In my home, it means a basket on the hearth where my children’s published works go. It means that we read them just as we do any other book in that basket. It teaches my children that their work, their stories, are of great value.

Now that’s also not saying that I just put anything that they slap onto paper in that basket. We work hard to publish our books. We add a cover, a dedication page, a title page. There are illustrations to be drawn, details to be added to the story. I can teach my children the art of editing and revising as we work to publish our stories.

And then we have a final product! A book we will read and cherish!

I LOVE this idea. It doesn’t need to be hard or elaborate. Don’t expect your child to always want to everything. The whole premise of publishing our children’s writings is to tell them “you matter, your stories matter, you can be an author, you can write and you do so beautifully.”

To break it down further, here is what I do while writing and publishing a book with my children (my kids are 2 and 4, so keep that in mind as you read through this).

  1. I ask my daughter to tell me a story about something that has happened in her life or another story that she just wants to make up.
  2. We work together to write the words. Sometimes she wants to pretend write and other times I write down what she tells me (I’m not that concerned about her getting every word on the paper, I’m more concerned at this age with her enthusiasm for the story and helping her get her words out). Some of you might not like the idea of writing the words for your kids, that’s okay too, but it works for us.
  3. I ask her to illustrate her story.
  4. We come back to the story the next day or a few days later. I ask her for more details and we add more. We don’t always finish. This can be a long process or a short process, it really doesn’t matter at this age, as long as they are thinking and processing and trying to get their words on paper.
  5. When she is confident that her story is complete, I’ll ask her if she wants to publish her story (you’ll probably have to explain what this means the first few times).
  6. If she does, we work together on a dedication page and title page.
  7. Lastly, we add the cover and she illustrates the cover.
  8. We place the book in our basket and read it again and again and celebrate the wonderful author that she is!

To help you with this process I’m including THREE FREE printables with this post! Click below for the dedication page printable, the title page printable, and the book cover printable (I usually print the book cover on a piece of cardstock).

Printable PDF of dedication page HERE

Printable PDF of title page HEREĀ 

Printable PDF of cover page HERE

Happy Publishing, friends! Be sure to check back this week for more Writing Week posts and ideas!

*pencil clipart fromĀ www.jessicasawyerdesign.etsy.com

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