Books About Writing: Growth Mindset Read Alouds

Teaching writing is one of the most challenging aspects of kindergarten and the lower grades. The ability levels in any given classroom vary widely, and we all know that standards are ramping up quickly. Whether you are using a writing workshop, the Work on Writing block from Daily 5, a scripted curriculum, or throwing it all at the wall to see what sticks, the children in your classroom need a lot of support and encouragement.


 So, how do you motivate students to write every day, grow their independence and willingness to take risks, push them through the stages of the writing process, and provide models of excellent writing — all in a way that is developmentally appropriate and fun? Well, you ARE a wizard, right?

Just kidding. You don’t need magic when you have these four read alouds in your back pocket. Check them out and stick around for a can’t-miss song at the end.


A Squiggly Story
Andrew Larsen, Mike Lowery
Kids Can Press—September 6, 2016
Ages 3 to 7, Grades P to 2

“Every story starts with a single word, and every word starts with a single letter.”

This inspiring book will encourage pre-writers to create stories of their own, teach about the parts of a story, and promote the idea that everyone has an important story to tell. I love its illustrations—which show how the main character writes his story with a few letters, punctuation marks, and symbols—and the positive sibling and classroom relationships it portrays.


How This Book Was Made
Mac Barnett, Adam Rex
Disney-Hyperion—September 6, 2016
Ages 3 to 5, Grades P to K

“I worked and I worked and with the twenty-first draft I was done.”

Mac Barnett and Adam Rex are two of the hottest names in children’s books today—for a reason. This hilarious book shows the nitty-gritty details of publishing a story, taking us from the initial spark of an idea to holding a finished book in our hands. It’s mix of real-life and preposterous scenarios will keep kids on their toes and teach them all about the writing process.


What Do You Do With An Idea?
Kobi Yamada, Mae Besom
Compendium Inc—February 1, 2014
Ages 5-8, Grades K-3

“And then, I realized what you do with an idea…You change the world.”

This best-selling and award-winning book is a classroom must have. Have you read it? It encourages children to find their confidence, grows their ideas, and always go BIG. But did you know that the story behind the story has something to teach, too? Kobi Yamada is a first-time author who published the book through his own company—known for greeting cards more than bestselling picture books—and overcame some pretty big obstacles to get this title into our hands and hearts.


One Day, The End. : Short, Very Short, Shorter-Than-Ever Stories
Rebecca Kai Dotlich, Fred Koehler
Boyds Mills Press—October 6, 2015
Ages 4 to 8, Grades P to 3

“For every story there is a beginning and an end, but what happens in between makes all the difference.”

If you are helping your students with adding detail to their writing, this is the book for you. Every page has just a few words, but the illustrations let us in on all the action. For instance, the little girl tells us, “One day, I went to school. I came home. The end,” but take a close look at this picture to see the whole story. Talk about “show don’t tell!”


This activity goes well with:

As an added bonus, this book comes with a little ditty by the rising star of kids music: story time troubadour Emily Arrow! Here’s that song I promised you. It’s from her album Storytime Singalong, Volume 1.

What are your favorite read alouds about writing? Please tell me in the comments or find me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.


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