A "Must Have" Text for K-1 Teachers


I recently ordered 4 new picture books for writing workshop ... sight unseen ... and I ended up only liking ONE of them. (I have to stop buying books I haven't actually looked through!)

But lucking out on this book made up for the other three. And actually, I don't just like this book ... I LOVE IT!

It's not even new. (©2012) But I just discovered it, so it's new to me.

It's about Ralph, a reluctant writer who can't think of anything to write about, but (unlike the other books I bought), his struggle with writing and the support his teacher gives him are authentic and realistic ... she says exactly what we would say. And the writing community in his classroom is friendly and genuine, which helps him overcome his fear of writing and sharing his stories with others.

The illustrations are humorous and Abby Hanlon's pictures of student writing look just like our students' examples, complete with simple drawings and invented spellings. She celebrates Ralph's story, even though he verbally shares WAY MORE than he actually wrote on his paper ... so much of this book is developmentally appropriate and reflects best practices in the teaching of writing ... that's why I love it! 

Respecting Abby's work, I don't want to share too much, but here are a few pages to give you an idea of what to expect:

• She teaches that writers get their ideas from everyday life ... small moments in time.


• She shows that sometimes writers struggle to think of ideas ... kids will relate!


• After Ralph finally shares his story, the kids ask him lots of questions. (Community)


• She shows that it's ok to verbally tell a story ... even if it's not written on the paper yet.


• And she shows Ralph's actual story so the children can see his writing and celebrate.


• She even has some fun with the beginning and end papers in the book.



And make sure you look carefully at the illustrations inside the book for some characters from popular children's literature ... Pigeon, Lilly, David, Frog & Toad, Olivia, and more. Your students will have a lot of fun spotting them!

Happy teaching! :) 

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