This week for our Gramma Preschool time, I will be trying this out with my four-year old granddaughter. I am going to be pulling several pattern books for us to investigate. I want books that might be nonfiction, since she is used to fiction books in this way. We will look at things we notice and make a chart about the "noticings". The chart might go like this:
Picture Books Have:
-words about the topic
-pictures to help the reader
-words are the same on pages
When it is time to begin this unit in December, students will look back at this chart. Teachers will encourage the children to choose topics they know a lot about to write their books. They will be writing a book a day...lots of books! Because of this large amount, teachers will be busy making up blank books...some with six pages, some with eight pages, before the month begins. Children will pick the blank books that will fit their topic.
These books, again, are approximations of what they have been reading. They will start out with pictures. The mini lesson for that will be "pictures help the reader". The sentences that children write will have inventive spelling. They might even have only one letter representing a word. It depends where the child is with his/her writing.
Each of the "noticings" from the chart may become a mini lesson. As in the past, the lessons will depend on the needs of the students in your classroom. However, the chart your class made will help with ideas for your progress, especially the first week.
The last day of the first week of this unit, would be a great time to have a mini-celebration. The teacher would put all the books in baskets according to reading level or topic. The children will meet with a partner. They could have one basket to read together. This will help the students see the value of writing...for a real purpose! Teachers might even want to have children pick one of their books they wrote in December to give as a gift to someone at home.