Archive for the ‘BW products’ Category

Trees in the Forest: Day Three

Trees in the Forest: Bits and Pieces II

by Rita Cevasco and Tracy Molitors

Day One: Laying a Path
Day Two: Bits & Pieces I

“In light of having a very reluctant, older, dysgraphic child, I appreciate the information surrounding ways to entice, encourage, inspire, appreciate, and respect where he is at and where he hopes to go—even when he doesn’t have the faith that he can get there.” —Tara, Homeschool Parent

Bits and Pieces. Every bit of writing lays a stone on the path to more elaborate writing. Each word on paper is a necessary ingredient to helping a reader and writer see that they can write. Blank pages are intimidating, so filling a page with drawings surrounded by Bits and Pieces of writing is a means of Laying a Path. Stones are small steps, so we write in defined boxes and circles to encourage children to take another step. We respect each child’s current ability level, luring kids along with tender encouragement and care. Bits and Pieces of writing is a necessary ingredient for the struggling learner who needs even more encouragement and tinier steps.

Bits and Pieces of writing is good for all of us. All readers and writers, whether they struggle or not, grasp a story on a surface level, yet must grow in deeper understanding to comprehend below the surface of a story. Deep comprehension requires us to interpret not only how a character acts, but why a character acts or thinks a certain way. Not only what a story is about, but why a story is being told. Cartooning characters with Bits and Pieces of writing encourages all of us to answer why questions.

Today we are going to continue to add Bits and Pieces of writing to our character cartoon. Each day, each Bit will help our children elaborate on their understanding of both the character and the story’s meaning. Each Piece will help them get their words on paper.

No matter the age, kids can engage in some level of interpretation about what their character wants and what stands in the character’s way. This is known as conflict. As we engage in this activity with our children, we will notice that having general ideas about how a character thinks is far less demanding than writing what a character is thinking. Writing even a simple sentence requires us to capture our stray ideas and formulate them into one cogent thought.

By putting pen to paper, our children can see their thoughts in a new way. Written words are not fleeting: they remain in place and in time, giving children an opportunity to ponder. When re-reading our own words, our ideas are magnified, so our understanding solidifies. I have had students exclaim, “Oh, I get it!” after seeing their own words on paper. It seems that speaking our thoughts helps focus our lens, writing our thoughts brings a closer focus, then rereading our writing magnifies our ideas! Written interpretation has the power to deepen our comprehension and then inspire further insight.

Today our children will write in Bits and Pieces about their character’s conflict. We do this by taking on the character’s perspective and voice. We must think about the entire story, then converge on one single idea: “My character wants to . . .” In this way, we begin to identify the character’s conflict: what our character desires versus what or who stands in our character’s way. When you are done with today’s writing, have each family member read aloud what they have written; notice whether today’s writing leads our children to deeper insight and discussion about their character.

If you haven’t already, download Cartooning Characters to see how we encourage children to interpret their character’s problem. You will receive a packet that contains a blank drawing sheet, five days’ worth of activities labeled Day One through Day Five (each adding to the original drawing), and an example of Tracy’s completed cartoon for your reference.

We are on Day Three of the activity, so be sure to work up to that day. Tomorrow, we will give you insight into Day Four’s strategy. Each day we will give you insights into how and why the next step matters, so be sure to read along throughout the week. Spreading cartooning over many days allows us to revisit our character, each day digging deeper into our thoughts and writing a bit more.

DOWNLOAD Cartooning Characters


Trees in the Forest: Growing Readers and Writers through Deep Comprehension
by Rita Cevasco with Tracy Molitors

Think deeply to write deeply. . . Geared to parents, educators and Speech Language Pathologists, this creative resource can be used to aid children in becoming lifelong readers and writers. Available in PDF or PRINT formats.

For the digital PDF version:
Take $5.00 off at check out!
Enter Discount Code: RITA5

(expires January 31, 2017)

[This post contains an Amazon affiliate link. When you click on the link to make a purchase,
Brave Writer receives compensation at no extra cost to you. Thank you!]


Live with Rita!

Rita CevascoIf you’ve been thinking of joining The Homeschool Alliance now would be a great time! Rita Cevasco will hold a LIVE web conference for Homeschool Alliance members Thursday, January 12th, from 4:00-6:00 PM EST!


Learn more at Rita’s website: Rooted in Language

Trees in the Forest: Day Two

Trees in the Forest: Bits and Pieces I

by Rita Cevasco and Tracy Molitors

See Day One: Laying a Path

Study the trees to learn the forest. Think about it: if you are a botanist, a biologist, or an ecologist, you could investigate everything there is to learn about a tree, and through that process, you would learn a great deal about the entire forest.

We apply this metaphor to reading and writing to encourage kids to grow more fully on their journey. We want children to explore a single literary idea in depth, like studying a tree, instead of broad study across a wide expanse of forest. All the activities in our book, Trees in the Forest: Growing Readers and Writers through Deep Comprehension, including our Cartooning Characters strategy, are rooted in our learning model.

Thinking in depth about a single character improves reading comprehension. Writing with depth about a single character improves writing content. Our kids don’t have to write 5-paragraph thesis essays to obtain this goal.

Today we begin encouraging our children to engage in a type of writing I call “Bits and Pieces.” Bits and Pieces of writing—in this context, surrounding a character illustration—encourage kids to capture their thoughts in real time, then transfer those ideas onto paper in manageable chunks. Translating our Bits and Pieces of thought into written words captures our ideas. Capturing our ideas promotes deeper comprehension.

Our children learn a great deal about literature, character, reading, and writing by studying this one tree: illustrating a single character. The practice of Bits and Pieces of writing helps kids elaborate and expand on their ideas. We will begin Bits and Pieces of writing today, as we continue Cartooning Characters with our children.

In today’s activity, we further develop our character by digging into the story. This is easiest if we think about a favorite scene. Once we each think of a scene, we will write in short sentences or phrases what our character is thinking within that scene, as well as how the character acts. By focusing on one scene, and writing in Bits and Pieces, we begin to draw our character in words.

If your children are young or struggling writers, consider partnership writing, in which they write the easy words and you write the ones that are difficult to spell. Or, they can write one phrase, then dictate one for you to write, etc. No matter the level, encourage tiny bits of writing today! We have purposefully created boxes to help the struggling writer: a box is easier to fill than an entire blank page, encouraging writing in only Bits and Pieces.

If you haven’t already, download Cartooning Characters to begin adding Bits and Pieces of writing to the character’s cartoon. You will receive a packet that contains a blank drawing sheet, five days’ worth of activities labeled Day One through Day Five (each adding to the original drawing), and an example of Tracy’s completed cartoon for your reference.

Today in this blog, we provided insight into Day Two’s strategy. If your children are feeling inspired and want to do all five days at once, then go for it. But tomorrow we will give you insights into how and why Day Three matters, so be sure to read along throughout the week. Spreading the cartooning over many days allows us to revisit our character, each day digging deeper into our thoughts and writing a bit more.

DOWNLOAD Cartooning Characters


Trees in the Forest: Growing Readers and Writers through Deep Comprehension
by Rita Cevasco with Tracy Molitors

Trees in the Forest: Growing Readers and Writers through Deep Comprehension (Volume 1)Think deeply to write deeply. . . Geared to parents, educators and Speech Language Pathologists, this creative resource can be used to aid children in becoming lifelong readers and writers. Available in PDF or PRINT formats.

For the digital PDF version:
Take $5.00 off at check out!
Enter Discount Code: RITA5

(expires January 31, 2017)

[This post contains an Amazon affiliate link. When you click on the link to make a purchase,
Brave Writer receives compensation at no extra cost to you. Thank you!]


Learn more at Rita’s website: Rooted in Language

Trees in the Forest: Day One

Trees in the Forest: Laying a Path

We’re excited to announce the new book, Trees in the Forest: Growing Readers and Writers through Deep Comprehension, by Rita Cevasco with Tracy Molitors.

Rita has spent over thirty years working with children as a speech-language pathologist and a reading-writing specialist. She has extensive training for treating dyslexia and using various reading and spelling programs for children with weak reading and writing skills.

Tracy is a watercolor artist, graphic designer, and a children’s book author and illustrator. She is the illustrator and a contributing author for Rooted In Language publications.

Rita and Tracy will be guest posting all week here on the Brave Writer blog. Enjoy!


“I loved the time that you said ‘set a small task of writing and then be done, remembering that they are tired even if you aren’t.’” —Tara, Homeschool Parent

Rita Cevasco and Tracy MolitorsLaying a Path. Remember those words. Everyday your children walk on a path as developing readers and writers. For some it is a pleasant, easy walk. For others, it is uneven ground. For still others, it is a steep and daunting climb—overwhelming and exhausting.

Our goal is to lay a path for our children, one stone at a time. Reading and writing is a journey, and when we lay a thoughtful, encouraging path for our kids, we can rest in the knowledge that they are growing at their own pace. They are not stuck or overwhelmed. They are not skipping over important steps.

One way we lay a path is by consolidating language arts skills, so there is a smooth flow from reading to writing, and from writing back to reading. This path becomes smoother as children learn to capture their thoughts on paper.

This week we’re sharing an activity from our book Trees in the Forest: Growing Readers and Writers through Deep Comprehension. Our activity, called Cartooning Characters, encourages kids to think more deeply about text, then express their thoughts in Bits and Pieces of writing—all combined with visual art!

Cartooning Characters by Rita Cevasco and Tracy Molitors

Each day this week, we will walk on this path, each day we will discuss an addition to the activity, each day more drawing and writing—all in Bits and Pieces! By the end, your children will be further on their own journey to becoming deeper readers and thoughtful writers.

We encourage you to do this activity along with your children—one character for each of you. Each of you will choose a character from a story to “draw,” in sketching and words. In our book, we discuss the concept that drawing can help us see new aspects we may not have noticed before. Drawing a character, eventually adding Bits and Pieces of writing, will help us capture our thoughts on paper.

Having each person in the family select a different character will help reduce competition. We want children to believe their ideas are valid with no single answer or perfect drawing. Keep your own performance in line with your children, so you do not overwhelm them with adult-level abilities and expectations.

  • Download Cartooning Characters to begin. You will receive a packet that contains a blank drawing sheet, five days’ worth of activities labeled Day One through Day Five (each adding to the original drawing), and an example of Tracy’s completed cartoon for your reference.
  • Each day in this blog, we will explain that day’s strategy. If your children are feeling inspired and want to do all five days at once, then go for it. But we will give you daily insights into how and why the next step matters, so be sure to read along throughout the week. Spreading the cartooning over five days allows us to revisit our character, each day digging deeper into our thoughts and writing a bit more.

For today’s activity, you and your children will choose a main character of a fictional story. It can be from a favorite book they have read, your family’s current read aloud, or other media. You will each draw your chosen character from the directions on the Day One sheet. Encourage your children to draw as elaborately or simply as they desire—even stick figures (check out this helpful guide by Tracy). Simple drawings, like simple words, can lead us down a path to deeper insight.

Download our PDF, and let’s begin with Day One . . .

DOWNLOAD Cartooning Characters

Day Two: Bits & Pieces I
Day Three: Bits & Pieces II
Day Four: Story Symbols
Day Five: Connecting with Character


Trees in the Forest: Growing Readers and Writers through Deep Comprehension
by Rita Cevasco with Tracy Molitors

Trees in the Forest: Growing Readers and Writers through Deep Comprehension (Volume 1)Think deeply to write deeply. . . Geared to parents, educators and Speech Language Pathologists, this creative resource can be used to aid children in becoming lifelong readers and writers.

This is available in PDF or PRINT formats.

[This post contains an Amazon affiliate link. When you click on the link to make a purchase,
Brave Writer receives compensation at no extra cost to you. Thank you!]


A Conversation with Rita!

Rita Cevasco was also with me on Facebook last week and we talked about reading, writing, and learning differences. Watch the recorded broadcast below.

Learn more about Rita and her work at Rooted in Language.

Rita Cevasco

Gracious Space Winter Readings

5 FREE Daily Readings from A Gracious Space: Winter

The Winter edition is the second in the A Gracious Space series and the readings are just getting started! Every week we’ll:

We’ve put together the first 5 days of readings into a FREE PDF download as our gift to you!

A Gracious Space: WinterDownload Your 5 Free Readings Here

 

We shared the first reading from A Gracious Space: Winter on Facebook. Check out the YouTube video of it below (and for those participating in the 12 Days of Brave Writer, keep a sharp eye out for snow on the thumbnail!).

In the recorded broadcast we talk about the temptation to try favorite bits of a subject or program and skip the rest (and how that’s okay!) plus how to: “Throw it on the wall and see what sticks!”

Does Brave Writer Intimidate You?

Does Brave Writer Intimidate You?

by Stephanie Hoffmann Elms

I had The Writer’s Jungle for over a year or more and loved it but was frozen about implementing it. What helped me was taking Kidswrite Basic (this was in the days before Jot it Down and the other stage of writing products). Seeing it implemented by the instructor made the lightbulb go off.

Here is the thing…just start with One Thing. Pick something, anything.

Don’t feel like you have to have everything all worked out as far as how you think it will work. Brave Writer is more about giving you multiple tools and ideas to facilitate the process rather than telling you exactly how things should work.

And that is actually where the beauty and the magic lies. In the figuring it out. In the unfolding of both your understanding of your child and their relationship with writing.

Let go of feeling like you have to get it “right” and give yourself permission to discover things on the way.

12 Days of Brave Writer

Stephanie Elms has homeschooled her two boys for ten+ years and is a coach for Brave Writer’s The Homeschool Alliance. She blogs at Throwing Marshmallows.