16668399With everyone anticipating the start of school, teachers and therapists are gathering new ideas to teach their lessons. I have worked within classrooms during writing lessons to encourage brainstorming, critical thinking and organizing for a writing assignment. I’ve seen teachers start with a picture book to stimulate thinking and teach about the important elements to a well written story.

Recently I was given an advance copy of “Little Red Writing” by Joan Holub and Melissa Sweet. What a treat! This picture book chocked full of word play, inference and instruction about writing a story, can be used on many levels by educators to build language and writing skills. A discussion on comparing it to “Little Red Riding Hood” would get the thinking started and lead to all the coaching on how to write a good story.

Here is my full review of this newest PAL Award winner that I highly recommend:

This clever adaptation of Little Red Riding Hood has so many levels of creativity and learning, I don’t know where to begin. Beginning with “Once upon a time in pencil school,” the teacher announces to the class of various pencils–slammin’ basketball, yippee birthday and sharp Little Red–that today they are going to write a story. We are cleverly taken down the story path of good writing, starting with our idea, characters and setting and traveling through the school to pick up essential story elements and trouble. Little Red picked up some excitement in the gym at the “verb action fitness program,” where she boogied and bounced, walked through the “deep, dark, descriptive forest” to add some adjectives for pizzazz, and squeezed the glue from the supply closet, providing a few too many conjunctions in a run on sentence. The Adverbs truck arrived “suddenly” to to move along the story and get to the trouble! Little Red bravely weaves her way through the school rooms following a strange, frightening sound. Amazingly, Principal Granny was missing and suspicious pencil sharpener was in her place (named Wold 3000). As any good author would do, Little Red saved the day and overcame her antagonist, creating the perfect story. This book is just as intriguing and entertaining to a a child as an adult, chocked full of great information on how to write a story with underlying word play at every turn. Every elementary teacher should have this book to begin their writing units. Trying to teach a first grader what an adjective is can be daunting until they recall the the dark, descriptive forest with the “deep, piney, russet, verdant, deciduous leaves.” Melissa Sweet’s illustrations invite a language lesson on each page with all of her clever detail and inference. Why are the adverbs “delivered speedily?” what do the dabs of glue represent when too much came out? What would you name each of the pencils and why? Maybe the first writing assignment should be comparing “Little Red Writing” to its red hooded counterpart!

This book will be available in October