Writing from Picture Books

One way that reading helps children is by inspiring better writing from them.  Children who are read to frequently will incorporate words and phrases from books into their own writing which them makes them better writers.  You can help you child with this by showing them how to write like a favorite author.  Here are 2 books that make it easy for young children to take ideas from.

Not a Box by Antoinette Portis

This adorable book features a rabbit and a box.  The rabbit insists that it is not a box and his imagination fills in the details of what he is using the box as.  I love to let children watch the youtube video of this book being read.  I then encourage them to make their own “not a box” pictures.  We use a dark color to draw the box and the rabbit and to write the question.  Then we use a lighter color to draw what we imagine the box to be.  Because children are only writing one sentence and then drawing the rest of the story, children feel less pressured by the writing aspect and more like this is an art project.

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin, Jr.

This cute picture book asks the same simple question on every page.  It then gives the same answer on every page.  Only the color and the animal changes.  This repetition makes it easy for children to repeat as well.  Simply have your child draw any animal using one basic color.  Encourage them to think outside the box.  After all, the story includes a purple cat and a blue horse!  They can then write a sentence for their picture.  The sentence should follow this format: color animal, color animal, what do you see?  They could then draw a picture of a second animal and write another sentence. I see a color animal looking at me.  Of course, the words in bold would change depending on what animal your child chooses to draw.

Reading picture books to your child can open a whole new world of writing and illustrating.  Remember to start by reading the original book at least once, maybe several times before writing.  When you ask your child to write their own page in a story, you open the door to a deeper discussion about the book itself.  It gives you the chance to discuss how the author choose the words for the story.  And isn’t that what reading is supposed to do?  To open our eyes to new things to discuss and talk about?  What other books do you use to help your child write better?

Photo by:  Denise Krebs

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