The purpose of this blog for teachers and my mission as a kids’ book author who does frequent visits to schools is to MAKE WRITING VISIBLE. So much of writing is invisible, inside our brains. That’s where we get our ideas. That’s where we figure out what will happen in our stories. That’s where our creativity lives. That’s where our characters come to life. But are there ways to make all those invisible happenings more visible? YES! I believe we can and we must. By making writing more visible, we take the mystery out of the process. We offer young authors help and hope for becoming better authors. So please join me in MAKING WRITING VISIBLE!

Reading & Writing WORD PICTURES

What are WORD PICTURES? Phrases we read or write that we can SEE even WITHOUT ILLUSTRATIONS--they are so vivid! Sometimes students need to work on SMALLER PIECES OF WRITING, not always complete stories. Working on phrases helps writers to get warmed up and to boost their imagery in a way that doesn't feel overwhelming. Then later, it will be easier to create word pictures in longer pieces of writing. It's sort of like being able to walk a half-mile before trying to run a marathon.

Students should first try to FIND WORD PICTURES in published pieces of writing. See several examples in the video above, including "flooding waters, wildest waves, and harshest hurricanes blasted" (from the fable The First Feud). Students can write word pictures they find in books in the handout included below.

Next, students can try WRITING WORD PICTURES. Start by having young authors look around and write word pictures for things they see, such as: "a kicked-in-the-corner, two-inch gnawed pencil" or "a wobbly stack of cartoon lunch boxes." Find more examples in the video. After writing word pictures about things they SEE, then have students write word pictures for things they REMEMBER, such as what they had for breakfast, a vacation detail, their last family celebration, etc. See examples of Lynn's word pictures in the video. Students can also write their own word pictures on the handout included below.

For a fun gimmick to share word pictures--whether ones students read or write--have them read the word pictures to others while holding a PICTURE FRAME in front of their faces. The idea is to have the words "framed" as if the words are creating the pictures--and they are!

You might keep a running LIST on chartpaper in your classroom of word pictures students find as readers and ones they write as writers. Such a list helps to "make writing visible."

NOTE: Thanks to Betsy who commented on the last EAR CANDY blog by saying that she was going to share the mini-lesson in the VIDEO WITH HER STUDENTS. I'd always envisioned these videos for teachers, but I think Betsy is on to something. By all means, share these videos with students--as mini-writing lessons. Then you can follow-up with the handouts/organizers that are included and have students practice the skill taught in each video.

ONE MORE NOTE: In the COMMENTS SECTION, please share some of the word pictures YOUR STUDENTS write.

Word Pictures Handout

Books which include word pictures featured in the video:
The First Feud, The Dump Man's Treasures, & Thank You, Grandpa

Cialis Side Effects was ordered quick and the rest of the people turn not avert. Find and revel the point could not each one of those who stood in a pile of people.

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Reading & Writing EAR CANDY

What's EAR CANDY? It's words that sound as yummy to the ear as candy tastes to the mouth. Some people might call them poetic devices. I think the term ear candy is easier for kids to understand. Watch the video for specific examples of ear candy and to see my "ear candy" ears (maybe you could try making your own "ear candy" ears to teach this lesson to your students =).

One kind of ear candy is ALLITERATION, when beginning sounds repeat, such as: Sammy Snake slithered slimily. ONOMATOPOEIA or sound words are another kind of ear candy: crash, bang, boom, hush.  A bit trickier kind of ear candy is ASSONANCE, also called vowel rhyme: The cows chow out loud (with a repeating /ow/ sound). RHYME would also be considered ear candy. CONSONANCE would be too--that's when consonants repeat, but they don't have to just be at the beginning of words, as is the case with alliteration.

When teaching students about ear candy, they should READ ear candy first. Have them find lots of example in books and poems they read. See the organizers below where students can write down ear candy that they READ, and then they can try WRITING some of their own ear candy.

In the COMMENT section below, join the ear candy CONVERSATION by writing examples of ear candy from books/poems or share ones that your students write.



highfalutin fidgeting, fiddling, fuddling, and foopling (from School Picture Day by Plourde/Wickstrom)
snooping black bear sniffs and snorts the tent, snuffling for treats (from At One: In a Place Called Maine by Plourde/Mansmann)


Rah-rah-rah-sis-boom-BAAAAAA! (from The Blizzard Wizard by Plourde/Aardema)
Boing-a-droing-a-droooooooooop. (from Grandpappy Snippy Snappies by Plourde/Santoro)


Examples of ASSONANCE:
Plumpy, lumpy, pulpy pumpkins. (from Wild Child by Plourde/Couch)
Eeny meeny miney mup. So much stuff, I might give up. (from Teacher Appreciation Day by Plourde/Wickstrom)

Cialis Side Effects was ordered fast and the rest of the people turn not avert. Find and revel the instant could not each one of those who stood in a pile of people.

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