Finally....... a post about Talking, Drawing, Writing Book Study and WHY it has taken me so long to write it!

Hello Friends!
Whew! My last day of school was this Monday and time has just flown by since I walked out of my classroom! My daughter came home for a few days to help me spring clean and talked me into renovating my son's bedroom into a guest room. (My son was just married in January.) So instead of organizing things around the house, we totally transformed a teenage boy's room into a lovely guest room. PLUS, I finally got into my garden this week and am filled with such peace when I am working with my flowers. I have so many flower beds. This week I worked on the ones that I can see outside my window......So, THAT is the reason I am  bit behind in my blog post about the book study! But isn't that what the summer is about - doing the things that you put on the end of your "to do" list during the school year? I love the summers for exactly that reason...... a wonderful way to rejuvenate my brain and do things that there is absolutely no time to do during the school year!

So.... on with the book study...... First of all, if you are interested in this book study, I would suggest that you purchase the paper version of the book rather than the Kindle version. I was so excited to begin reading the book, that I purchased the Kindle version so that I could begin it immediately. Well, sadly, I plan to purchase the paper version also because there were so many times during Chapter 1 that I wanted to go back and review what I read and I find that very difficult to do on my Kindle. I have a first generation Kindle so perhaps the later ones are more user friendly, but for my needs, I think the paper version will be better for me.

My first thought when I started this book was "Wow! These authors know young children!" Chapter One starts out discussing reasons for why it is important to give young children the opportunity to talk before writing. And just as Lucy Calkins says in "Writer's Workshop", the authors in "Talking, Drawing, Writing" also feel that children need to begin their writing journey describing real life incidents in their life. I especially enjoyed reading the stories that the teachers told. They were told to teach children that stories happen everyday and they do not need to be filled with adventure or a trip away from home. Simply telling about your dog chasing a rabbit or when your baby brother spilled his milk is a story.

The authors give suggestions for how to ask questions about a child's story to help them gain details about what they are telling. I know from experience that a child can be super excited to tell a story and when given the chance, they might say something like "I just learned how to ride my bike without training wheels!" And then they are done; not realizing all the amazing details they could add to that story such as "What color is your bike? How long have you had your bike? Who helped you learn to ride your bike? Where did you ride your bike?" Was anyone watching? How did you feel?" When  child learns to add details to their story, they realize that what they are speaking about IS exciting and something others want to hear about.

At the beginning of the book, the authors explain WHY they feel that talking MUST come before writing. I am sure that all of us who are early education teachers have had this happen to us......  We do a great shared writing lesson with our students and get them all excited about writing their own stories. They head off to their tables ready to write and draw and we, as the teacher, are so excited to read the glorious stories that they come up with. We prepare to walk around the classroom all ready to praise and encourage our students for their first efforts and...... just as we begin our walk around the room, we hear "I'm done!" And then comes another "I'm done" and another...... sigh......... this is NOT the experience you had planned for your students!

Here is an excerpt from the book about this phenomenon: "Any teacher of writing, it seems, has experienced a moment like that. It can happen for many reasons. One could be that we begin with our vision of the end, rather than building toward it over time......." Isn't this so true?

Talking comes naturally to children; so starting with talking makes sense. I know that when school starts for me in August, I still have a vision of how my students looked in May. I KNOW that I begin with the ending rather than the beginning and am often disappointed by the output of my students at the beginning of the year. I ALWAYS have to remind myself that I need to start slow and remember this is August NOT May! Because this book stresses BUILDING on what children know before launching the writing, drawing process, I plan to take those baby steps...... slowly, slowly..... I usually start the year with drawing, but this coming year, I plan to take the advice of the authors and begin my Writing time with talking.... partner talking and listening. One child will be  the ears and the other will be the mouth. I created simple cards for each child to hold to define their roles as listener and talker. Click on the images to get the Google doc for the ear and mouth posters.

Click here to find a linky at the blog of Jennifer, Teaching With Grace

Nicole From Steele Teaching did a review of chapter One. Here is the link to her blog.

Chapter Two....... "Putting Stories on Paper in an Environment That Supports Writers and Writing"

Until next time!



  1. Wow!!! Cindy I am so impressed with how much you have accomplished this week. You are an inspiration to me.


    Charlotte's Clips and Kindergarten Kids

  2. Oh, my, thank you, Charlotte! I know that we all are the same in the summers; busily finishing all those tasks that we don't have time for during the school year!

    Thank you for commenting!


  3. Thanks for the link!!! I agree with you, I need to start slow and a LOT more partner sharing/listening. I love your idea of one being the lips and one being the ears. Thanks!!!