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Happy 2016!  I am so excited to share with you a few of my favorite new books for kids that will be perfect to use in your Readers and Writers Workshop!  First up, is this book “How to Tell a Story” by Daniel Nayeri.

From the publisher: The book is a guide to the principles of creative storytelling. It covers the essential elements like conflict—that thing that no one likes in real life, but without which no story could ever start—characters, motivation, dialogue, theme, and, of course, the climax. As you turn the pages, you’ll be prompted to roll the story blocks. And that’s when the magic starts to happen.

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The blocks are coded by color, each loosely associated with a part of speech. A simple exercise about motivation, for example, asks the reader to roll the blocks and find one red block (person or animal) “who wanted nothing more in this world than to” one green block (action). Depending on the outcome, the reader might end up telling a tale of a cowboy who just wanted to dance or a mummy who wanted to race cars.

*This is my most favorite feature of this pack – the color coding!  Because I think that students can really get interactive with this piece.  See my video below for more detail.  -CJ

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How to Tell a Story combines the surprising whimsy of Mad Libs with the compelling fun of storytelling cubes. Its exercises and games will have readers mastering the basics of storytelling while exercising their creative muscles. And who knows where that journey will end?

I also love these little games scattered throughout.  I think this book would be a perfect addition to your Writers Workshop for any grade K-8.  Also I’d love to see you get a few of these kits and have them around the room for multiple groups of students to use at once!

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The next book that I’ve recently discovered is Who Done It? by Olivier Tallec.  This book is a perfect introduction to early inferring concepts (grades K-1).  Even my 3 year old loves it!

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Each page poses a question that the reader then needs to infer the answer to, based on the illustrations!  So for example:

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I talk through why my three year old chose the illustration that he did and we make a lot of text-to-self connections (i.e: “That’s what happens when you have a potty accident” or “he looks embarrassed and that’s how I felt when I had an accident“)  And occasionally when he chooses incorrectly, we can talk through why that may not be the best choice, thus increasing his comprehension skills and use of illustrations to comprehend stories.

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Overall, I think both of these books would be nice additions to your classroom library as you look to spice things up in your Readers and Writers workshop!  Also, I gave a more in-depth look at both of these texts during my show on the I Teach TV Network, every other Thursday at 7 CST.  You can see some of my past show replays here.

I hope to see you over on the iTeachTVNetwork very soon!

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