Three Resource Books To Help You Support Writers at Home and at School

06 Apr

Today I’m sharing three resource books that I often recommend to parents and teachers in my workshops. All three books develop both creative and critical thinking skills which are the stepping stones for good storytelling. Rather than focus on workbooks, I’ve chosen books to spark curiosity as I consider this to be a fundamental learning skill across all curriculum levels. All three books cater for a range of ages and stages so lots of possibilities for families. I come back to these books time and time again for planning my workshops. I will flip through the books on my Instagram stories so you can see what’s inside.You can always request that your local library buy the books, if they don’t have them already.

(1)
‘Chasing Ideas
The Fun of Freeing Your Child’s Imagination.’
By Christine Durham

This book has kept me company on my parenting journey. It’s a book both parents and teachers can use to discover the joy of chasing ideas with children. It’s easy to read and full of thought-provoking tips for developing curiosity and creative thinking. Christine Durham shares many accessible thinking strategies and tools to enable children to open up issues and explore ideas. I use many of these tools in my critical thinking workshops. This book is also full of personal anecdotes, photos and quirky illustrations. Unlocking creativity and developing thinking skills doesn’t have to be ‘sit down and get serious’ either. The process can be playful and naturally arise from your everyday interactions with children. This book guides you through the thinking process in an easy, natural way. It is worth checking whether your library has a copy of this book. My edition is published in 2001 but there is a later edition.

(2)
‘How To Be An Explorer Of The World: Portable Art/ Life Museum’
By Kerri Smith

“At any given moment, no matter where you are, there are hundreds of things around you that are interesting and worth documenting.”
These lines appear on the back cover of this book and it strikes me as especially relevant for where we find ourselves. Our environment and daily life may have changed rather dramatically but if we pay attention, our curiosity still has the opportunity to flourish.
I love this book. It’s art meets science. It’s full of interesting assignments and tasks you can complete to document your life. This book has the power to turn your daily walks into interesting lessons and research projects. The book’s layout is easy to read, quirky and instantly appealing. It provides lots of prompts and assignments as well as templates you can use to record your answers in creative ways. I often come back to this book for teaching inspiration but sometimes I’ll complete assignments myself, especially if I need to spark new ideas. These tasks don’t need fancy equipment. You could do these exercises in your backyard, your street and your neighbourhood. The exercises will prompt real life writing. Writing with purpose. This is the best on the job writing training you can get. It beats worksheets every time. If you want to add detail to your writing and to bring your stories to life, you need to start paying close attention to your daily life and that’s exactly what this book demands of young writers.

(3)
‘Show Me A Story: 40 Craft Projects And Activities to Spark Children’s Storytelling’
By Emily K.Neuburger

This book travels around in my car, especially when I’m presenting storytelling workshops in schools and kindergartens. It is literally brimming with ideas that teachers and parents alike can use to inspire creative writing. I think one of things I like best things about this book is the fact that there are activities here to engage writers from 3+ so it’s super versatile. There’s also some really valuable information about storytelling and writing to guide parents in the right direction. Some activities, such as story dice and story blocks create storytelling and writing resources that can be used for years to come. Other activities get kids outdoors and observing life around them. Many activities require some preparation in terms of sourcing materials, but some just require basics like paper and textas. If you are in the market for ordering art materials, check out Riot Art online or Zart Art.

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