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