One way to boost students’ writing is to have them do STORY ADD-ONS, that is, add a part to published stories. Picture books are perfect for this purpose. Students should choose a picture book that has a repeating part or pattern, read the story to figure out the pattern, and then add a WHOLE NEW PART to the story–words and illustrations. They can put the add-on on a paper and tuck it into the published book so that students can share and read each other’s add-ons.

In the video above–perfect for sharing with students in Gr. 3-5–I give examples of how to do Story Add-ons for three picture books: I’M BORED, PIGS IN THE MUD, and WILD CHILD. Students should try to make their add-ons fit in with the other scenes in the story, paying close attention to HOW the author told her/his story.

See the hand-out below on Story Add-Ons.

For younger students, if this activity is too difficult for them to do solo, then have them work in small groups or do the activity as a whole class.

By adding parts to published picture books, students will be looking more closely at how other authors tell their stories and will tune into how patterns are used in stories–and then be more ready to use patterns in their own stories.

Story Add-Ons Handout

I’m Bored by Michael Ian Black & Debbie Ridpath Ohi
Pigs in the Mud in the Middle of the Rud by Lynn Plourde & John Schoenherr
Wild Child by Lynn Plourde & Greg Couch

Three Story Questions
Reading & Writing EAR CANDY

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