Writing Adventures in Storybook Land

Writers Path to Critical Thinking (PACT)


Teacher:  Holly Van Houten

Ages:  6-8


Class Fees:

 $279 or $269 if taking 2 or more classes

10 week class


Homework:  Approximately 1-1½ hours of writing, spread throughout the week.


This class is designed to encourage a love of reading and writing in our youngest students. We will be looking at several classic storybooks (including Caldecott winners) and completing a variety of creative, expository and descriptive writing projects designed to spark your child’s imagination and encourage critical thinking skills! This is a class that will delight even the most reluctant writers.  They will laugh and have fun reading these clever picture books in class and the books will help inspire their own creative writing.   The earlier students become comfortable writing the better!  This class is designed to give young students a chance to participate in some really fun, hands-on, creative, expository and descriptive writing tasks, while serving as a captive audience for one another.  Kids will love these storybooks, but I guarantee their favorite part of the class will be reading aloud what they’ve written and enjoying the writing of their classmates.  These students will be PROUD of their writing and eager to share!   I’ve seen it again and again – there’s nothing so encouraging to young emergent writers as seeing that they’ve entertained others with their creations!  This will be a noisy, boisterous and fun class, as we learn how to get our ideas down on paper.  


This class will focus on a variety of uniquely beautiful picture books, and, as we prepare to write about them, we will explore science, art, social studies and language arts through that book.  For example, when we read The Little Island by Golden MacDonald (pen name for Margaret Wise Brown) we’ll look at how the changing seasons affect the island.  Students will become “experts” on the little island and sharpen their math skills as we make graphs to classify the plants and animals on and around the island.  We’ll explore science by looking at how islands are formed and creating our own “islands” with sand, water, twigs and pebbles in clear plastic bowls.  We’ll “move like the wind” on the island as we listen to Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons” and we’ll look carefully at the descriptive words used in the book to help bring the wind to life (howling, moaning, whistling).  



Some of the other Caldecott winners we’ll be using during the fall quarter are A Tree is Nice, The Ox Cart Man, Saint George and the Dragon and The Polar Express.



This is a year-long class, so as we continue in the winter quarter, we will read Strega Nona, The Snowy Day, Why Mosquitos Buzz in People’s Ears, Lon Po Po, and Frog and Toad are Friends.



Then for our spring quarter, we will enjoy Blueberries for Sal, Miss Rumphius, Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, Jumanji, and Chanticleer and the Fox.


We will also review sentence structure basics, parts of speech, vocabulary and spelling to build students’ confidence in their own writing.

Students will draft paragraphs in class, finish them at home and then have a chance to share their writing with their classmates.