Meet 2013 Newbery Medal Winner!

Posted October 23, 2013 & filed under Notebook.

Don’t miss this free Inprint event with 2013 Newbery Medal Winner Katherine Applegate!  This is part of Inprint’s exciting Cool Brains! Reading Series for Young People. See their announcement below for more information.

Meet the author
2013 Newbery Medal Winner
Sunday, October 27, 2013 
3 pm (doors open 2:15 pm)
Johnston Middle School, 10140 Manhattan  

For more information click here.

Katherine Applegate will make a presentation about her work followed by a Q & A with the audience and a book sale and signing, at which audience members can meet her. Enter a drawing to win a free signed poster or book by Applegate here.

KATHERINE APPLEGATE has written many books for children and young adults, including the picture book The Buffalo Storm, the chapter book seriesRoscoe Riley Rules, and the Animorphs series, which has sold more than 35 million copies. Her novel Home of the Bravewas awarded the 2008 Golden Kite Award for Best Fiction. Her latest novel The One and Only Ivan, in addition to garnering the 2013 Newbery Medal, was named a best children’s book of 2012 by School Library Journal and Kirkus Reviews and listed among’s middle grade “2012 Best Books of the Year.” It also was included in the Texas Bluebonnet Award 2013-14 Master List. 

The story, for readers ages 8-12, is about Ivan, a charming gorilla who lives in a video arcade. A starred School Library Journal review says, “Applegate makes a powerful statement about the treatment of animals—especially those living in captivity—and reminds readers that all creatures deserve a safe place to call home …. this lovely story and the characters will capture readers’ hearts and never let go. A must-have.” A starred Kirkus Reviews calls the novel “utterly believable … this bittersweet story … will inspire a new generation of advocates.”

Summer Book Clubs

Posted May 21, 2013 & filed under Notebook.


Remember to register your kids for the Houston Public Library Summer Reading Program.  Go Under Cover is for children up to 18 years of age. This is a free program that rewards reading with a free book for the home, plus other prizes.  You can register here.

If your child attends school in the Houston Independent School District, you can get double credit.  Sign up for the HISD Millionaire’s Club Summer Reading Program here and get more incentives for reading great books!


The Birth of a Superhero: The Super Reader

Posted April 16, 2013 & filed under Poem of the Day.

The day I was born, the best

super hero book was published.

My family crowded around that book

in the library, and then I appeared.

They looked at me and assumed

I was a robot toy, but no. I was a boy

with a dictionarial head, and my fingers were book

lights. I smelled of ink and paper from the many

books I read. I arrived in the world with dozens of science

fiction and long chapter books. I was fifteen

inches tall, four inches wide, and four inches in depth.

I had a hoarse and deep voice as if I had been talking

to myself for days on end. I tasted something in my mouth

like factory-fresh cellophane on the new books

coming off the assembly line. The air inside the amazing

circle of curiosity was dense, warm air, and everybody

was sweating. I grew and kept reading

books for the rest of my super hero lifetime.

By Ryan, 3rd Grade

Click the link above to listen to the poem read on KPFT radio by Hannah Reeves, a 8th grader at Johnston Middle School For the Performing and Visual Arts in Houston.

This poem is featured as part of the 2013 A Poem a Day campaign, a National Poetry Month celebration by Writers in the Schools (WITS) that features a different poem by a WITS student every day during April. Click here to learn more. 

Special thanks to Susan Phillips, an independent radio producer and KPFT volunteer in Houston, who recorded and produced all the poems for the WITS A Poem a Day campaign.  

One Voice Poetic Choir Tonight!

Posted February 22, 2013 & filed under Notebook.

As a featured component of Society for Performing Art’s Movement Toward Literacy initiatives and its Performance Prelude series, Writers in the Schools’ Meta-Four Houston is producing the One Voice Poetic Choir. Tonight, young poets will perform an original collaborative poem in the Grand Foyer of the Wortham Center as a prelude to the dance concert by Motionhouse. Members of the choir received complimentary tickets to Motionhouse this month and to see STOMP perform at Jones Hall last month.

Join us at the Wortham Center’s Grand Foyer before 7pm to catch the One Voice Poetic Choir and stop by the WITS information table to say hello!

Images from Angela LaMonte Only Once Images

Images from Angela LaMonte Only Once Images

About Meta-Four Houston

Meta-Four holds monthly workshops that encourage teenage writers to develop their work and expand their artistic processes. For teens who are completely new to poetry, getting involved in Meta-Four is a great way to share ideas, receive feedback, and find inspiration. Meta-Four also holds monthly slams that allow more experienced poets to compete and share their work in a safe and encouraging environment. Writers of all backgrounds and skill levels will be both supported and spurred by this spoken word program.

One of the things that makes Meta-Four great is its leader. The program is headed by slam veteran and Houston poet laureate nominee, Outspoken Bean. “Bean”, as he is commonly called, is an expert at both performing poetry and coaching poets. His skill as a writer and performer has led him to open for such well-renowned names as Talib Kweli, Buddy Wakefield, and Cornel West. And Bean’s natural proficiency as a leader and teacher had allowed him to champion his former college team to regional victory in his very first coaching experience. With Bean at its head, Meta-Four is capable of honing any youth writer into a performer and competitor.

Another reason to get involved in Meta-Four is that it helps poets to branch out and find like minds. Every year Meta-Four, sends 4 to 6 of its poets to an international slam poetry competition called Brave New Voices which draws in hundreds of the best youth poets in the world. These competitions have taken place in states across the country, from California to New York and participants have come from places as far as England, Guam, and South Africa to take part. Meta-Four’s involvement in Brave New Voices provides a way for Houston youth to network with other teens.

The upcoming Brave New Voices competition will take place in Chicago, Illinois. To help Meta-Four prepare for this competition, WITS will be providing space for workshops and rehearsals, as well as helping Coach Bean to schedule features and performances all around Houston which exhibit the Meta-Four slam team’s material. These features help writers get comfortable performing, while also exposing the city to the talent its youth possesses. These workshops, rehearsals and features were a vital part of Meta-Four’s success last year. Our team went on to place 21st in the Brave New Voices competition and land a feature spot on the semi-final stage. WITS hopes to help Meta-Four’s 2013 team duplicate, and even surpass that level of success in this year’s competition, while encouraging all of its young poets to write and perform to the best of their abilities.

by WITS Intern and former Meta-Four Member Jeremy

Author Jon Scieszka to visit Houston this Sunday

Posted February 21, 2013 & filed under Notebook.

Jon SJon Scieszka is the bestselling author of more than 25 books for kids which have sold more than 11 million copies worldwide. His major works include The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid TalesMath Curse; and the Time Warp Trio series. His first picture book, The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs! By A. Wolf, sold 3 million copies and was translated into 14 languages. In 2008, Scieszka was named the first National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature by the Library of Congress, an honor established to recognize substantial contributions to children’s literature.

WITS Writer, Thomas Calder, regularly uses the work of Jon Scieszka in the classroom. When asked why he looks to Scieszka’s books as mentor texts, Thomas writes, “what I love about Scieszka’s work is that it illustrates perspective and point of view. The story turns the traditional tale of the three pigs upside down and really shows young writers how the choice of who the narrator is, impacts how the story is told.”

ThreeLittlePigsAs a part of Cool Brains! Inprint Readings for Young People, Jon Scieszka will talk about his work and take questions from the audience. The presentation will be followed by a book sale and signing, giving families a chance to visit with the author.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Johnston Middle School (10410 Manhattan Drive)

3:00 pm (doors open 2:30 pm)

FREE Admission

An Evening of Literary Placemaking

Posted February 5, 2013 & filed under Notebook.


Join Writing & C/Siting Houston for an event featuring WITS founder Philip Lopate, WITS Writer Miah Arnold, and great friend of WITS, Bill Monroe, as they share stories about the special places that make the Bayou City unique.

When: Wednesday, February 6th at 7:00 pm

Where: University of Houston Honors Commons (212 MD Anderson Library)

More about the readers:

Phillip Lopate has written three personal essay collections – Bachelorhood (Little, Brown, 1981), Against Joie de Vivre (Poseidon-Simon & Schuster, 1989) and Portrait of My Body (Doubleday-Anchor, 1996); two novels, Confessions of Summer (Doubleday, 1979) and The Rug Merchant (Viking, 1987); a pair of novellas; three poetry collections, The Eyes Don’t Always Want to Stay Open (Sun Press, 1972), The Daily Round (Sun Press, 1976) and At the End of the Day (Marsh Hawk Press, 2010); and a memoir of his teaching experiences, Being With Children (Doubleday, 1975).

Miah Arnold is the author of Sweet Land of Bigamy, and a number of short pieces of literature. Her essay “You Owe Me” will appear in Best American Essays 2012. She earned a Ph.D. in writing and literature at the University of Houston. She teaches adults and children throughout Houston in University and nonprofit settings. She has served as a fiction editor at Gulf Coast and a poetry editor at Lyric Poetry Review. Her work has appeared in Michigan Quarterly Review, Nanofiction, Confrontation, Painted Bride Quarterly, and the South Dakota Review. She lives in Houston, Texas, with her husband and two children.

William Monroe is professor of English and Dean of the Honors College at the University of Houston. His book Power to Hurt: The Virtues of Alienation was selected as an outstanding academic book of the year by Choice magazine and nominated for the Phi Beta Kappa/Christian Gauss Award. His other publications include the play Primary Care, which deals with personhood issues related to Alzheimer’s Disease, and articles on T.S. Eliot, Vladimir Nabokov, and Willa Cather. He is currently at work on The Vocation of Affliction: Flannery O’Connor and American Mastery.

About Writing & C/Siting Houston: Writing & C/Siting Houston is a collaboration among Houston Arts Alliance Folklife + Traditional Arts Program, the Cultural Enrichment Center at the University of Houston-Downtown, and Houston Folklore Archive of the University of Houston and has been funded in part with support from the Texas Commission on the Arts, Humanities Texas, National Endowment for the Arts, and Houston Endowment Inc.

Click here for more information

Meta-Fourth Friday and Public Poetry

Posted November 29, 2012 & filed under Notebook.

Friday! Spoken Word workshop at 7pm, then the slam at 8pm. You must participate in the writing workshop to take part in the Slam. Ages 13-19, oh and it’s FREE! More information on the WITS web site.

An excerpt from Meta-Four’s performance at A Celebration of Story:

Jo:  It’s like it’s not good enough to just be you anymore

Je:  But, that is the best time for you to be you

Eb:  I started by just being

Jo:  I started by experimenting

ALL:  Where we are now began by creating

Meta-Four students performing Nov 2012

Also, the Meta-Four Houston group will be performing Sat, Dec. 1 at Public Poetry, 2pm at Vinson Library. Don’t miss these talented students!

WITS Students to Read at the Menil Collection this Saturday

Posted October 30, 2012 & filed under Notebook.

Poems for a Quarter Century
Saturday, November 3, 2012

7:00 p.m. Free Public Program

Sasha West, poet, professor, and literary editor, will curate an evening of poetry readings about art and artists whose work hangs in the Menil Collection, including poems by Writers in the Schools students who visited the museum through the Writing at the Menil program. The Menil Collection is celebrating its 25th year anniversary with special events and programs.

Students reading art-inspired works at The Watchful Eye Reading in May at the Menil

Public Poetry to Feature WITS’ Executive Director

Posted October 25, 2012 & filed under Notebook.

From Public Poetry:

“Poetry on TV??  Absolutely!  And we want YOU to be part of the audience on Saturday, November 3, 2012 at 2 PM at Vinson Neighborhood Library, 3810 W Fuqua, 77045 when Houston Media Source’s camera rolls!

It’s all about filming our featured poets – Jasminne Mendez, John Pluecker, Robin Reagler and Scott Wiggerman – in a fabulous new library, built just two years ago, that is moving into the future.  It’s an inviting, interesting, people friendly place that combines both hi-tech and old school, with 46 computers, a colorful fantasy space for young kids to listen to story-time and another to express their creativity, a vibrantly hued hi-tech section that has flat screens for video gaming, side rooms for groups to meet spaced throughout, and of course, books and books and reading nooks.

Please arrive by 1:45. We’ll be set up for filming inside the rotunda entrance, sharing the space with artist Elaine Bradford’s zoo of vibrantly-hued crocheted animals. Filming will go on for about an hour and a half, so come prepared for that.  BUT, if you’re a camera shy lover of poetry, simply take a seat at the back, and you’ll be guaranteed off-camera privacy and anonymity.

Never camera shy, there will be some students reading their poems, too, including kids who participate withWriters In the Schools (WITS).”

Houston Poetry Fest This Weekend

Posted October 12, 2012 & filed under Notebook.

Schedule and Lineup for the Weekend: 

Willow Street Pump Station, 811 North San Jacinto

Friday, October 12 @ 7:30 p.m. 

Juried Poets


Jerry Bradley

Lillian Susan Thomas

Norma Edwards Koontz

Daniel Carrington, Jr.

Maria Illich

Adamarie Fuller

Terry Jude Miller

Sandi Stromberg

John E. Rice

UHD Visiting Writers

Meta-Four Houston (info)

Featured Poet

Cindy Huyser

Saturday, October 13 @ 1:00 pm to 4:30 pm

Traditional Open Reading

Saturday, October 13 @ 7:30 pm

Guest Poet


Jane Creighton

Juried Poets

Lynn C. Reynolds

Elizabeth Sydnor

Christopher Carmona

Sylvia Riojas Vaughn

Elisa A. Garza

Oscar Peña

Sean Johnson

Julie Pujol-Karel

Larry L. Fontenot

Kelly Ann Ellis

Sunday, October 14 @ 2 pm

Guest Poet

Joseph Campana

Juried Poets

Craig Bertuglia

Deborah “D.E.E.P.” Mouton

Winston Derden

Priscilla Frake

Kirsty McCormack

Geraldine Gobi Greig

Carolyn Praytor Boyd

John Milkereit

Former WITS Writer Dr. Matt Boyleston Reading at HBU

Posted October 9, 2012 & filed under Notebook.


Dr. J. Matthew Boyleston, Interim Dean, School of Fine Arts at Houston Baptist University, will read selections from his collection of poetry Viewed from the Keel of the Canoe at 7:00 on Thursday, October 11th at 7pm in the Fine Arts Museum at HBU.

Matt is a former WITS writer and a big supporter of Writers in the Schools.

Other publications:

Poems and essays in The City, Confrontation, Religion and the Arts, Transgressive Culture, The Madison Review, Yemassee, Time of Singing, Tipton Poetry Journal, The Roanoke Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, The Portland Review, Sierra Nevada Review, The Spoon River Poetry Review, Harpur Palate, The New Orleans Review, The Flint Hills Review, Puerto del Sol, The GSU Review, The GW Review, The South Carolina Review, The Powhatan Review, Poetryfish, Writers at Carolina, Aspects, The Echo, Carolina Writes and The July Review. 

Meet Acclaimed Children’s Author Lois Lowry

Posted October 8, 2012 & filed under Notebook.

Meet acclaimed children’s author Lois Lowry at Cool Brains! Inprint Readings for Young People

Lois Lowry at her home in Cambridge, MA

Lois Lowry is the celebrated young adult author of over 40 books, including Number the Stars and The Giver. Nearly 15 years after the release of The Giver, Lois Lowry has published Son, the fourth and final book of The Giver series. Son brings together characters from the previous three stories – The Giver, Gathering Blue, and Messenger – to tell a story about the significance of human connection. Kirkus Review calls Son a book “written with powerful, moving simplicity…. As the final volume in this iconic quartet, it holistically reunites characters, reprises provocative sociopolitical themes, and offers a transcending message of tolerance and hope. Bravo!”

The event will take place on Sunday, October 14, 2012, at Johnston Middle School, 10410 Manhattan Drive (77096), at 3 p.m. (doors open at 2:30). Admission is free and open to the public. Lowry will make a presentation about her new book Son and will take questions from the audience. A book sale and signing will follow, giving families a chance to visit with the author. For information about this and other readings in the Cool Brains! Series, check out or call 713-521-2026.

Public Poetry Featuring WITS Student

Posted October 3, 2012 & filed under Notebook.

Join us this Saturday, October 6th at 2pm, for a fantastic lineup of Public Poetry at the Vinson Neighborhood Library. A WITS student will read two pieces along with a talented selection of Houston writers. Free as always!

Visit Public Poetry for more information.

Listen to WITS Writers Tonight

Posted September 13, 2012 & filed under Notebook.

Current WITS Writer Miah Arnold and past WITS Writer Sarah Cortez will be reading at Kaboom Books tonight at LitFuse’s Fall Season Opener.

Thursday, September 13, 2012
Kaboom Book in Woodland Heights

7:30 PM, free

Here’s the announcement from LitFuse:

WITS Writer Miah Arnold

For our Welcome To Fall season opener, LitFuse is excited to welcome three of Houston’s very best: Miah Arnold, Marc Phillips, and Sarah Cortez. Miah Arnold is the author of Sweet Land of Bigamy (Tyrus Books 2012). Her essay, “You Owe Me” (originally published by Michigan Quarterly Review) will appear in Best American Essays 2012. She grew up in a house attached to The Three Legged Dog Saloon in rural Utah, studied history at Carleton College, and earned a Ph. D. in writing and literature at the University of Houston. She has served as a fiction editor at Gulf Coast and a poetry editor at Lyric Poetry Review. Her work has appeared in Michigan Quarterly Review, Nanofiction, Confrontation, Painted Bride Quarterly, and the South Dakota Review. She has received a Barthelme Award, an Inprint/Diana P. Hobby Award, and an Established Artists Grant from the Houston Arts Alliance for her work.

Marc Phillips. “Author, journalist, in print since 1991. Award-winning short stories, poetry. Debut novel The Legend of Sander Grant (Telegram 2009). Lives in Houston.”

Former WITS Writer Sarah Cortez

Sarah Cortez is the author of an acclaimed poetry collection, How to Undress a Cop, and winner of the PEN Texas literary award in poetry. She edited Urban Speak: Poetry of the City; Windows into My World: Latino Youth Write Their Lives (winner of the 2008 Skipping Stones Honor Award); Hit List: The Best of Latino Mystery; and Indian Country Noir (Akashic Books). In May 2011, her latest project entitled You Don’t Have a Clue: Latino Mystery Stories for Teens was released by Arte Público Press. Her most recent title is “Walking Home: Growing Up Hispanic in Houston,” a mixed-genre, groundbreaking memoir. Her work has appeared in The Sun, Rattle: Poetry for the 21st Century, The Houston Chronicle, the Dallas Morning News, The Texas Review, New Texas, Louisiana Review, Blue Rock Review, Pennsylvania English, The Midwest Quarterly and elsewhere and is widely anthologized in collections by Penguin, the Great Books Foundation, and other international publishers.

Sept. 11 Reading: WITS Writer Lacy Johnson

Posted September 4, 2012 & filed under Notebook.

Come Hear WITS Writer Lacy M. Johnson

Tuesday, September 11th

7:30 p.m.

Kaboom Books

 3116 Houston Avenue

Lacy M. Johnson is the author of Trespasses: A Memoir, which was published by the University of Iowa Press earlier this year. She holds a PhD from University of Houston’s Creative Writing Program and has been awarded fellowships from the Kansas Arts Commission, the Mitchell Center for the Arts, and Millay Colony for the Arts. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Creative Nonfiction, Sentence, TriQuarterly Online, Memoir Journal, Gulf Coast, Pebble Lake Review and elsewhere. She lives in Houston with her husband and two children and currently teaches writing to public school teachers and pediatric cancer patients.

5 Ways Parents Can Encourage a Reluctant Reader

Posted March 20, 2012 & filed under Notebook.

Once a child has the motivation to learn to read, you as a parent are in the clear. Sometimes a reluctant reader might need a little nudge to discover the brave new world offered by reading. Here are some suggestions.

1. Let your child choose his or her own books at the library. If your child chooses Captain Underpants, swallow your pride and check out that book. A child who falls in love with reading will most likely continue to enjoy it for many years to come.

2. At the library, you should choose a few books for your child as well. Do a little research ahead of time or ask your librarian for suggestions that respect your child’s ability and interests.

3. Model nuanced reading for your child. Release your inner actor and read with gusto! New readers are so consumed with sounded words out and learning new vocabulary that they often lose track of the story.

4. Read aloud together. Reading together is a wonderful social activity at any age. You and your child share the experience and can discuss or refer back to it later.

5. Encourage your reluctant reader with positive feedback. Given the right reasons, every child can be excited about reading–and writing too. Let your child’s interests lead the way.

[photo by saundraG via flickr]

Writing is Like… Inspiration from a Third Grade Classroom

Posted May 18, 2011 & filed under Notebook.

There’s a point when all WITS teacher learn to believe in magic. It usually happens when you’re not expecting it—you’re shuffling lessons around TAKS testing, tending to paper cuts and fire drills, repeating “Five more minutes, just five more minutes of quiet writing time, and then we’ll share…”—then you happen upon a moment of stillness and see it: an entire room full of young minds scribbling as quickly as they can. They are writing and loving to write. Moments like these are perfect, infinite, and astonishing.

This school year, I was blessed with one third-grade class that was magical from the start. On my first day, one student waved me over. “Ms. Becca,” she said, “I’m a poet!” The boy next to her leaned in and earnestly confided, “Me too. I feel it in my soul.”

The passion for writing spread wildly throughout my visits. If any students in that room were doubtful, it wasn’t long before they were infected with the “Poetry-in-the-Soul” virus, too. Writing prompts were met with hushed anticipation and riotous cheers. Sharing time took on the extravagance of Grammy performances or Nobel Prize speeches. Students even asked for extra WITS homework. “I was working on a story last night,” they’d tell me. “You have to read it.”

To my utter disappointment, my time with this magic classroom is nearing its end. I find myself thinking If only I could bottle the energy in the room! and What is it that makes an entire class love writing so much? I had no idea, so I thought I’d ask the experts themselves. And so, I posed the question: “Why do you love to write? What is writing like to you?” The students answered (as any illustrious writer might do) in similes and metaphors. I’ve shared a few of my favorites below.

Thoughts On Writing
(by some of my favorite third-grade creative geniuses in Houston, Texas)

“Writing is like swimming in an ocean of words. It is a fun way to express your feelings. There are so many things to write about.” –Caleb

“Writing is like you’re using vision inside your head.” –Trenton

“Writing is like a rainbow after a storm. When I get sad, I write. It flows with nice music.” –Braelon

“Writing is like your head is exploding. It’s like it’s raining money. It’s like thunder. It’s like flying in space.” –Demarcus

“Writing is like living inside of a book.” –Jaya

“Writing is like floating in a pit of clouds. Writing is like flying with birds.” –Jeremiah

“Writing is like an ocean tide that never ends.” – Jemarcus

“Writing is like me on a Saturday morning, when I am just relaxing in my bed on the laptop computer. When I type the first word, my head clears all my troubles.” –Rhemi

“Writing is like eating Pay Days. They have peanuts that make me nutty, and my nuttiness drags along the paper when I write.” –Jazmine

“Writing is like water—it flows from my head to my hand and onto my paper. Just my pencil, my paper, and me.” –Jade

“Writing is like making a life out of words. Use your imagination to do the work. Use your words to feel (snap snap).” –Keshau [Note: the “snap snap” is Keshau mimicking the applause of Beat poets.]

“Writing is like a clock flowing through a mind with good sounds. Tick tock…” –Venerick

“Writing is like a feather that falls from above. It is a beautiful thing—to hear the words, to touch the paper. It is as beautiful as the sunset.” –Shelbi

“Writing is like an eruption of imagination. Like daydreaming on paper. With writing, you have to be creative.” –Caleb

“Writing is like you are flowing. When you write with your hand, it is just like your hand flows with the pencil.” –Kamille

“Writing is like a powerful storm that blows you away with words.” –Tianna

By Rebecca Wadlinger, Writers in the Schools

Reading Inside

Posted January 28, 2011 & filed under Notebook.

I remember reading inside the cool living room on a hot summer day,
With my mom cutting fresh lettuce for dinner tonight,
With my grandmother humming an old song like a radio.
I remember reading inside the cool living room on a hot summer day,
With hundreds and hundreds of feet of damp grass in front of my eyes,
With the smooth eaves shaking as a light breeze blows, dancing on the wonderful stage.
I remember reading inside the cool living room on a hot summer day,
With my cousin playing a beautiful piano song,
With my mind calming down and my heart full of peace.
I feel there’s something around me, like a color.
Did you notice?

By Ashley, 6th grade

Photo by Chiot’s Run via Flickr

Fiddle-i-fee Story Basket Lesson

Posted September 6, 2010 & filed under Fiction, Lesson Plan, mentor text, Notebook.

Grade level: Kindergarten – 1st

Genre: various

Objectives: To involve the students in listen to a story read aloud

Primary sources: Cat Goes Fiddle-i-fee by Paul Galdone

Materials: a basket with small stuffed animal characters from the book Cat Goes Fiddle-i-fee

Contributors: Brooke Brown, Linda Draper

This story basket activity ensures the active participation of all students in listening to a book read aloud. Originally used with Cat Goes Fiddle-i-fee, it can easily be adapted to any book by printing and laminating images of the story’s characters. Additionally, the students could make representations of the characters in the book as a pre-reading, art project.

Have the students sit in a circle on the floor with the “story basket” in the center which contains characters and farm animals from the book. The students should each take one animal from the story basket as the book is read aloud, listen for the appropriate time to place their character back in the basket.