Homeschool, Writing

Summer Fun Toolkit: Animal Research Writing

One of my favorite blogs is Mrs. Clancy’s Joyful Learning in KC. She does writing workshops with her kindergarteners and provides templates on her site. That way you can help your budding writers at home.

I’ve been using some of Ms. Clancy’s ideas to harness Cooper’s curiosity and keep his writing skills up to snuff this summer. Right now he is working on Animal Research Writing. His book is called BLACK JAGUARS. Here is his first page.


Books, Homeschool, Writing

More Handwriting Helps: Write a Book

Handwriting practice is the bane of my existence. I have a five-year-old who reads well beyond grade level. However, getting him to practice his handwriting is like pulling teeth.

Traditional methods of practicing handwriting have proved futile. Workbooks don’t hold his interest, so I’ve had to invent numerous handwriting games to hold his attention. It’s such a struggle that I have not been diligent about sitting down with him to practice.

Recently, I heard Katie Davis’s interview with comic book author/illustrator Stephen McCraine. McCraine recounted making his first book at age sixish. He drew the pictures, and his mom filled in the speech bubbles — except for his name, which Stephen could write himself. The interview sparked an idea. Surely writing a book was something I could try with Cooper, my five-year-old, as a means of handwriting practice.

So this morning I grabbed two sheets of paper for each “book.” I folded them in half and stapled them in the crease, creating 8 pages, including the covers, for each book. I asked Cooper and Finley to brainstorm some ideas. Finley, age three,  opted to write a story that Cooper had just made up: their stuffed bear, Winnie, finding a lost library book under the couch. (Note: The bear was on the right track. I found the missing book behind a couch cushion. Thanks Winnie!)

Cooper wrote a book based upon an animation he’d seen: Springtime on Mars. He drew the pictures and dictated the text: “Watch out! The aliens ran for cover.” I lightly traced the letters and had him write them, following my pencil strokes. We completed the cover and a two-page spread. Cooper was very proud of his first book. I’m hoping we can add a page or two in the days to come.