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Published Books: Why They’re Important
This week was our second round of book publishing this year. Back in February, after the kids had written original stories from picture prompts, we took the stories through the entire writing process.
- Prewriting (brainstorming, story mapping, free writing, lists making, orally telling a story, drawing a picture)
- Writing (aka, the rough draft)
- Revising (Does it make sense? Should I add/take away/change anything? Does it begin and end well?)
- Editing (capitals, punctuation, grammar usage, spelling, etc.)
- Final Draft
We don’t take every piece of writing through this entire process. When we do, the final draft usually looks like a “neat and complete” finished copy. Sometimes, the final draft turns into something a bit more…a “published” copy.
Beyond the regular final draft, a published draft includes illustrations, a cover and some sort of binding. Why go to the extra effort? Publishing helps children understand the audience behind their writing. Publishing helps children take the writing full-circle. In other words, when illustrating, it’s easier to assess whether to story really tells all it was meant to tell. Artistic children, especially, will find the publishing process the reward for the hard work of writing. And, it makes children feel special or accomplished to see their book sit on your bookshelf next to “real” authors.
Our Latest Published Books
There are many, many easy ways to publish books. Whatever works for your family and the supplies you have available is just fine. The examples below were simply typed, illustrated and bound using a comb-binding machine.
Mahayla’s story, titled The Mountain Trail, was not only home-published, but submitted to the Girlhood Home Companion. It was published in the magazine!
Caleb’s story, Josh the Ice Skater, was typed by me. He wrote the revised and edited draft – I simply helped with the typing because he’s so new at it.
One Additional Idea
Using “real” authors as examples of writing style is a great method for encouraging good writing in our children. Simply read good books and talk with your children about what the author did to make the writing good. Then, challenge your children to incorporate some of the author’s tactics in their own writing.
Predictable pattern stories are perfect to use when beginning this method. Read a predictable book, talk about the pattern and ask your child to write their own story using the same pattern.
Fortunately & Ten Black Dots
Using this method, Mahayla chose Fortunately by Remy Charlip and Caleb Chose Ten Black Dots by Donald Crews. (Their final drafts were published by sewing the inner pages of the books then using gorilla glue for the covers. We won’t use gorilla glue again.)
Fortunately follows the pattern of fortunate and unfortunate situations that happen to the main character throughout the storyline. In other words, something fortunate happens that leads to something unfortunate happening…over and over until it ends on a fortunate note. Mahayla followed the same fortunately/unfortunately pattern using her own situations.
Ten Black Dots uses the growing pattern of the numbers 1-10 and uses dots to make pictures that are part of the story. The first page uses one dot, the second page uses two dots, and so on. Caleb followed the same pattern, creating his own pictures from the growing number of dots. This book really utilized his creativity!
Published Stories One More Step
Publishing certainly isn’t for every story, but it’s valuable experience at least a couple times a year. I’m considering asking the local preschool if we can come read these to the children. I think that, too, would be good experience for my children!