Writing From the Heart

This summer, amongst the nature hikes, bike riding, dips in the pool, and visits to the museum, my son and I are working on his writing skills. Last summer we worked on reading. We read together over and over – fiction, non-fiction, adventure, science, humor – until it clicked. One day, he started to love reading. He felt proud of his ability to read by himself. Not without challenging words here and there, but it was FUN.writing

This summer, I’m hoping for a similar aha moment. We’ve done journalling about the week’s adventures, but no excitement so far there. Now we’re trying letter writing.

Aidan gets to choose who he writes his letter to. Last week he chose Grandma and Pa. He could write whatever he wanted. So he wrote:

Dear Grandma and Pa-

I love my family, and I love you.

Love, Aidan

It was short certainly, but very sweet. No mixed messages or confused syntax there. Just “here’s how I feel.”

It remains to be seen if this will get him excited about writing. We’ll see how he does on his next letter. It does, however, inspire me to write a little today. Not for any direct purpose, but just to write. How I feel today. What I’m thinking.

I won’t be mailing it off to Grandma and Pa, but maybe knowing it’s really not going anywhere will make me more uninhibited.

Take a few minutes on this hot summer day to write. A poem, a story, a few lines. You might be surprised what’s on your mind. And where it takes you.

Lights, Camera, Action!

ImageLights! Camera! Action! How a Movie is Made

Written and Illustrated By: Gail Gibbons

Thomas Y. Crowell Publishing House, 1985, Hardcover

Target Audience: Ages 6-9

Genre: Non-Fiction

How We Discovered This Book:

My son is very interested in how movies and television is made. Some of this probably stems from the natural process of learning what is real, and what is not. However, he takes a distinct interest in “peeling back the curtain” and figuring out how things are accomplished. We have watched videos on movie makeup, special effects, puppetry, and techniques like green screens and stop motion animation, but I was in search of a good book to explain the big picture of making movies and television.

What I Liked About This Book:

Even though this book was published almost 30 years ago, it covers the broad process in such a way that it does not feel outdated. The whole process is covered from the writing of the script all the way to opening night. We get to see all of the preparation involved, and the many people needed to make a movie.

What Did My Son Aidan Think?

He enjoyed this book much better than several others we read, which were way too general or outdated. This book seemed to have just the right amount of detail without getting bogged down in it. After reading this book, my son wants to learn more. Any suggestions on this topic? I have my eye on a Klutz book on stop-motion animation, but I’d love any suggestions for picture books.


Teaching Resources: This site has TONS of ideas for teaching kids about television and movies.

Write Your Own Activity Script: This site walks you through how to write a script with kids, and then mount a production. They base the script on Jon Sciezka’s The True Story of the Three Little Pigs, so it sounds extra fun.