Every Day Happenings

October 16, 2008

Through my work, I have noticed that young children, kindergartners especially, are enthusiastic about their writing.  They have fewer life experience, yet are content to write about ordinary, every day happenings.

Beverly Cleary is a master of writing every day experiences that kids relate to with her Ramona Quimbly series.  Abby Klein, author of the Ready Freddy series, has grasped the same concept.  Tomie dePaola shares everyday experiences from his life as a kid in the 26 Fairmont Avenue series.

As teachers, we need to be aware of modeling every day happenings in our writing.  The struggling writers are the ones who say, “I don’t have anything to write about.”  They have every day experiences, but don’t see those as being important.  How often do we model the ordinary happenings in the day-to-day life for our children?

One tried and true touchstone text for me is When Sophie Gets Angry  by Molly Bang.   The book is based on a sisterly argument that enrages Sophie.  Molly Bang creates vivid illustrations of how we often want to explode when we are furious.  Children connect to this story line; they’ve lived it.

Savorings in reading and for writing for When Sophie Gets Angry, Really, Really Angry:

  • Magic of Three  with sentences – “She kicks.  She screams.  She wants to smash the world to smithereens.”
  • Alliteration
  • Interweaving of Detail – character action, character thinking/feeling, character dialogue
  • Problem and Solution
  • Structure – For younger students, this book sets up the flow of a story that they can follow.