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“You enter the extraordinary by way of the ordinary.” ~Frederick Buechner

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Overview Chapter Books and Early Readers: Part Two: Structural Decisions

Workshop: An Introduction to Writing for Children and Young Adults

Sometimes the guidelines for this reading level seem restrictive to story and sometimes they present a challenge, like building a puzzle from scratch. The key to quality is still the story itself, the voice, and the connection to the reader.

First write the story you desire to share. Then examine the structure, much as in a picture book, and lay out, or adapt, your story to fit the category that is most relevant.

Here are some samples to help assess the differences. Also consider accessing spelling words for the earlier grades and incorporating a few for each story you tell. Some educational requests have been for an 8 line story or a 16 line story. Or for a story to only include specific sound words such as all ‘at’ words: bat, mat, cat, hat, sat, rat. Or perhaps ‘ap’ words: cap, map, tap, rap, gap, nap.

However, like any good writing the opening has to connect to the reader. Here are some opening lines as they are set up in different reading levels with different publishers. Also note that sentence and book lengths differ.

Biscuit Wants To Play by Alyssa Capucilli. Listed as a ‘My First’ or Pre-reader. 24 pages. 120 words.

“Woof, woof!
What’s in the basket,

All Aboard by Sonia Sander.  Lego City Adventures. Level One. 31 pages.  170 words.

“It is time for the train
to get to work.”

Danny and the Dinosaur by Syd Hoff. Level 1. 64 pages. (Didn’t count words)

“One day Danny went
to the museum.
He wanted to see what was inside.”

The following books are set in chapters.

Dragon’s Fat Cat by Dave Pilkey. 48 pages. 4 Chapters

“One snowy day in January,
Dragon heard a funny noise.
“That sounds like a cat,” said Dragon.

The Josefina Story Quilt, by Eleanor Coerr. Level 3. 62 pages. 6 Chapters

“It was May 1850.
Faith was excited.
They were going to California
In a covered wagon.
‘Please,’ Faith asked Ma,
‘can I bring Josefina?’”

Iris and Walter by Elissa Haden Guest. 43 pages. 4 Chapters.

“When Iris and Iris’s family moved
from the big city to the country,
Iris was sad.”

Action Steps:

1.     Take a story you’ve been working on and divide up the sentences according to two or three of the excerpts above.

2.     Note how your version compares.

3.     Download a spelling page for a grade that you are interested in and from that word page write first an 8 line and then a 16 line sentence story.

4.     Have fun experimenting!

Share: What has surprised you in this age category so far?

Read deep, marcy

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"The Seeker" Rachel Marks | Content Copyright Marcy Weydemuller | Site by Eagle Designs
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