Laura Numeroff has written a wonderful selection of books for young children. Stories like, If You Give a Pig a Party, or If You Give a Moose a Muffin, are entertaining examples of good writing. You can use these titles in the classroom to help your students grow as writers. As you introduce or reread a Laura Numeroff book to your class, give them an additional task to help them connect writing and reading.
The second or third time you share a Laura Numeroff story, assign students to think while they listen to you read the book. The first time students hear a story, they need to focus on the charaters and story so they can comprehend its meaning. This time, give them the task of thinking about what she does best as a writer and be ready to discuss it afterwards. Read the book aloud and discuss the definition and characteristics of good writing.
Students should volunteer answers appropriate to their grade level and experience. Examples include using words to tell the story, pictures match the words, space between words, adding details, topics are funny and interesting, etc. Ask guiding questions if these answers do not emerge.
The next day, or next read aloud opportunity, show students another book by Laura Numeroff and ask them to identify the title and author. When they realize it is by the same author as the book that they heard yesterday, ask them what they expect from this book. Will it have a mouse? Will it be funny?
Begin a list on chart paper titled Things Good Writers Do. Hang up the chart where students can see it during Writing Workshop. Each time you read a book by Laura Numeroff, or any other writer, refer and add to the chart. Record students' observations of these characteristics.
- Things Good Writers Do
- Choose an interesting topic.
- Use words and letters to tell the story.
- Sound out words you don’t know.
- Leave space between words.
- Pictures have lots of details.
- The title tells the topic.
During Writing Workshop students have time to choose their own topics and write independently. The teacher talks individually with children about how they are doing as writers. There conferences are a great time to highlight a particular skill that the student does well, as well as skill that could be further developed. Use this time to choose something the student does that good writers do, like leaving space between words, and help the student see themselves as a serious writer by pointing out that this is something that the author Laura Numeroff does well also. In the Author’s Chair, or sharing time, section of Writing Workshop, students read their writing to their classmates who give them feedback on what they are doing well as a writer. The teacher can refer students to the “Good Writers" chart to look for things their peers are doing well as writers, like Laura Numeroff does. This makes the feedback more specific and helpful to the students.