Evelyn is not a fluent reader by any means. She can write letters when you spell something for her. She makes wonderful inferences from illustrations and photographs. Using those strengths, it is quite possible for her to be a writer.
This project requires:
Strong parent support and involvement
Publishing Supples (I recommend a small binder, page protectors, and stickers)
A story worth telling
A lot of the students I work with struggle with the idea that revisions and proof-reading matter. They turn in their rough draft equivalents without giving a second thought to the quality of their writing. I want Evelyn to begin her writing experiences with the idea that your best work is often not your first work.
So we decided a few weeks ago that it would be nice to write a book about going to the library to share with her classmates.
Evelyn loves the Summer Reading Program and many of her friends haven't done it before so she wanted to tell them about the library so they would maybe try the reading program.
With this idea in hand, we started recording ideas. We would go to the library and then I would ask Evelyn what she liked about the library or what was important about the library. I'd record her statements using my phone's voice recording system. There were some real gems.
When it was finally writing day, we went to the library. We took pictures while we were there of all of the things Evelyn thought were important. When we got home, we printed off the pictures.
I printed off two pictures per page so they were about 5 x 3 photos. Then we cut them out and laid them on a table with plenty of space.
Here's were early literacy skills come in. Ordering events is an important skill. So step 1 for Evelyn was to put the printed pictures in the order of the steps we follow when we go to the library.
She worked hard to get them just the way she wanted. When she felt she was done we would go through and talk about what was happening in each picture to make sure that it made sense. This allowed her to correct anything that wasn't exactly where she thought was best.
When she had successfully ordered her photos, we wrote our rough draft. I asked her to tell me the story of going to the library using each picture. I wrote down the words she spoke as her first rough draft.
Once we had the first draft, we talked about using transition words. She had worked on transition words at school this was easier for her. We made those adjustments to make our story clear. Then we went through and changed some of our pronouns. We talked about sentences like "I read it at home." What we really want to say is "I read a book at home" or "I read my new book, The Rainforest at home." After changing our rough draft to include clearer words, we were ready for the next step.
I typed all of the rough draft sentences we had written, putting line breaks in between each sentence. I also typed all of our sentences from our "Pre-Writing" where we had recorded her ideas about the library on my phone. Then I printed them and cut out the pieces of paper so we had one sentence on each strip.
Next, I read each sentence to Evelyn and she placed the sentence underneath the photograph she thought it made the most sense with.
When pages had more than once sentence, we went through and read the sentences again to make sure they were in the right order. Some sentences needed to go before others.
Now that we knew how we wanted our sentences to look on each page, I typed a final copy for her to put in her book next to the pictures and we went shopping.
We picked a nice little two ring binder that was purple and some page protector sheets that fit inside it. We also got letter stickers and decorative stickers for the book.
Evelyn and I put the pages in her book together and then I worked on putting her title on the spine and front of the book while she illustrated a cover. (It's our car and the two of us in it on the way to the library). Then she put her decorative stickers in her book.
The last step for us was to create a dedication page. Evelyn wanted to dedicate her hard work on this book to her friends at her preschool.
Once we finished the book, we brainstormed ideas for the next one she'd write. Her favorite proposal so far is Evelyn and Dad go to Starbucks.
Here is the proud author with her finished work.