The ideas trait is about the writing’s overall message and meaning. Ideas are strong when they are clear and focused and move from the general to specific. Authors might convey ideas by drawing and/or writing. The following books could be used for teaching mini-lessons on illustrating that ideas for writing often come from every day situations or real life occurrences.
I’m in Charge of Celebrations by Byrd Baylor
Examples of all the celebrations in everyday life that are worthy of writing!
Fireflies by Julie Brinckloe
Sometimes the smallest moments in a story are what make it special!
Whoever You are by Mem Fox
Out of the Ocean by Debra Fraser
Ugly Fish by Kara LaReau
Imagine a Day by Sarah L. Thomson
Visiting Day by Jacqueline Woodson
Think of organization as the skeleton that holds a building together. Same goes for writing. If you look closely at the work of even emergent writers, we need to coach and point out organization. The following books could be used for teaching examples of the different ways that authors might organize their writing.
Voice is the writer’s passion for the topic coming through loud and clear. It’s what keeps us turning the pages of a story long after bedtime. It’s what makes us laugh or cry. Voice is what writers use to assert their own way of looking at an idea.
Train to Somewhere by Eve Bunting
Historical fiction that tells the story of orphaned children looking for homes. The main character Marianne tells her story by capturing all the fear, grief and hope that these children most certainly felt.
Diary of a Worm by Doreen Cronin
A comical book about the life through an earthworm’s writing!
Yesterday I had the Blues by Jeron Ashford Frame
Writing with voice means writing with emotion… this book is full of emotion as described by a young boy who starts out the blues, but winds up with the greens…
In November or The Relatives Came both by Cynthia Rylant
The Widow’s Broom by Chris VanAllsburg
The Other Side by Jacqueline Woodson
Expanding Word Choice
When we explore word choice in the classroom, we focus on the parts of speech that writers use to convey meaning—the nouns, verbs adjectives, adverbs, pronouns… and so on. But, word choice is NOT about grammar. It’s about carefully selecting descriptive words that create an image in the reader’s mind. The idea is to find books that give examples of descriptive and interesting words.
Max’s Words by Kate Banks
A text about a little boy who discovers lots of really great words! A great introduction to the concept of descriptive, juicy word choice
The author relies heavily on extravagant uses of words to engage the reader and create pictures of larger than life characters and places!
Things that are Most in the World, Barrett
Teaches about extreme adjectives or superlatives and is organized around a predictable pattern.
Lauren McGill’s Pickle Museum by Jerdine Nolen
Piggie Pie by Margie Pelatini
A very funny book… could work for several traits, voice and ideas along with word choice work for this one!
The sentence fluency trait has two dimensions, the grammar that makes a group of words into a good sentence and attention to variation in the way sentences can sound. The idea is to find books that have varying sentence structures in a way that contributes to rhythm and flow. We can do this by teaching our students to begin sentences in different ways, to combine sentences, and to write sentences of different lengths.
The Important Book by Margaret Wise Brown
Featuring poetry that is created using a pattern… also useful in teaching main idea and details
Home Run: The Story of Babe Ruth by Robert Burleigh
Many words and phrases that flow together with differing lengths and structures. A good example of the beauty of language
Rap a Tap Tap: Here’s Bojangles—Think of That by Leo and Diane Dillon
Words that have rhythm!
The Jazz Man by Karen Ehrhardt
John Henry by Julius Lester
Poetry Speaks to Children, Elise Paschen, Editor
A Chair for my Mother by Vera B. Williams
Conventions should guide the reader through the text making it easy to read and understand. We can help writers strengthen conventions by encouraging the correct spelling of words that matter and using punctuation to enhance meaning. These picture books give examples of conventions such as asking questions or dialogue that our students might emulate.
Our Librarian Won’t tell us Anything! By Toni Buzzeo
This book holds many lessons including using all captials to emphasize key words.
Duck on a Bike by David Shannon
So you Want to Be President? By Judith St. George
A great model for using capital letters at the beginning of names… and questions.
How one tiny comma can change meaning in BIG ways!
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst
Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, by Mo Willems
Appearance or the visual appeal of pictures and words together in a book are at the heart of this trait… These books were selected because they show strength in presentation that your students might want to try with their own publications… whether it is through the interesting use of white space, the choice of font, the style of the illustrations, or how the text and pictures are laid out on the page… each book has visual appeal!