36 Workshops to Get Kids Writing: From Aliens to Zebras

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  • About the author
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Creative writing encourages imaginations to take flight, and when adults use the right approach, building literacy skills becomes a form of play that gets kids excited to create their own stories. Packed with ready-to-use lesson plans designed for kindergarten- and early elementary-aged children, this book will help librarians add creative writing activities to more traditional storytime initiatives and school librarians enrich English Language Arts lessons. Hurtado’s resource provides

  • an entire year’s worth of weekly lesson plans, adaptable as needed, that include instructions, handouts, and everything needed to plan and prepare;
  • recommended read-alouds for each lesson plan;
  • ideas and activities scaffolded for different ability levels;
  • tips for using humor and silliness to grab kids’ attention and keep them engaged;
  • information on how creative writing dovetails with Common Core standards, emphasizing skills and critical thinking over rote learning; and
  • additional quality read-aloud picture books that can be used as inspiration to create new lessons.

This book will serve as a handy lesson/program planning tool for any children’s or school librarian interested in exploring new ideas to teach creative writing and higher literacy.


Chapter One    Writing in the Library: A Radical Idea
Chapter Two    All You Need Is a Good TERRIBLE Idea

  • Lesson 1    A Panda Parade Is a Terrible Idea
  • Lesson 2    If You Ever Want to Bring a Shark to the Park, DON’T
  • Lesson 3    Revising and Illustrating: Smartphones Are Definitely Not for Animals
  • Lesson 4    Don’t Let the Alien Play in the Toilet!
  • Lesson 5    Teach Your Zebra to Ride a Bike

Chapter Three    Fractured Fairy Tales

  • Lesson 6    The Very Old Bad Wolf
  • Lesson 7    Fairy-Tale Characters on Vacation
  • Lesson 8    Double Trouble
  • Lesson 9    Trickster Tales
  • Lesson 10    Small Actors Folktale Theater

Chapter Four: Animal Muses

  • Lesson 11    If I Had a Dinosaur
  • Lesson 12    How to Throw a Unicorn Party
  • Lesson 13    My Puppy Brother
  • Lesson 14    Take Your Poem for a Walk
  • Lesson 15    Don’t Sweat the Snow Stuff: Self-Help for Stressed Penguins
  • Lesson 16    Public Service Announcement: Beware the Giant Humans
  • Lesson 17    Diary of a T. Rex

Chapter Five    The Plot Thickens

  • Lesson 18    Chickens Can’t Sing
  • Lesson 19    Pirate Puppy
  • Lesson 20    Maybe It’ll Work This Time
  • Lesson 21    Every Hero Needs a Villain
  • Lesson 22    Meanwhile

Chapter Six    Playing with Words

  • Lesson 23    Go on a Word Hunt
  • Lesson 24    Insect Linguistics
  • Lesson 25    How to Make a Bear Burrito
  • Lesson 26    Riddle Me This
  • Lesson 27    Silly Split-Panels
  • Lesson 28    Scrambled Animals
  • Lesson 29    Bring a New Animal to Dr. Seuss’s Zoo

Chapter Seven    Advertising and Other Forms

  • Lesson 30    Grand Opening for a Literary Diner
  • Lesson 31    Write a Circus Poster for the Most Horrible Monster on Earth
  • Lesson 32    Make a Menu for an Ice Cream Truck Shop
  • Lesson 33    Make a Campaign Video for President Squid
  • Lesson 34    Propaganda: The Truth about Flowers
  • Lesson 35    What Will You Do with Your Idea?
  • Lesson 36    Make Your Own Jar of Happiness

Chapter Eight    Books to Feed the Young Author’s Spirit

  • Appendix A
  • Appendix B
  • Bibliography
  • Index

AnnMarie Hurtado

AnnMarie Hurtado has worked in schools and libraries for more than eight years and for five years has been a librarian in the Youth Services Department of the Pasadena (California) Public Library. There she created a bilingual yearlong reading program called Lucha Libros for elementary school students and facilitated a mother–daughter book club, a series of hands-on science workshops, and two monthly creative writing workshops, each tailored to different age groups—one is for tweens 9 to 12 years old, and the other is for kids 5 to 8 years old who are still developing their basic writing skills. It is Hurtado’s experience with the latter group that inspired her to write this book.

"Making a convincing case for including writing in children’s programing, this well-organized work covers all the necessary components to implement these lessons ... Highly recommended for public and school librarians, who will confidently be able to infuse writing into children’s programs.”
— School Library Journal