*Author, Author Field Trip


Author! Author!: A Module on Writing for Children
By Cara Bafile

The field trip accompanying this module introduces students to the writing process through the eyes of children's book authors. Children usually encounter the steps in the process of writing -- pre-writing, writing, revising, editing, and publishing at some point in their elementary experience, but they rarely apply that understanding to the work of real authors.

The Web provides a unique opportunity for students to learn about how children's authors produce their books through sites created and maintained by these authors, their publishers, or fans. The opportunity to virtually "meet" real authors and find out how they view and engage in their craft offers an additional motivation for students to implement the process in their own work.

On the field trip, students will study the steps of process writing. They will visit several children's authors' Web sites and answer questions such as:

  • Why did this author begin writing?
  • How does he/she develop the idea for his/her books?
  • What kind of books does he or she write?
  • What steps does the author follow?
  • How did he or she first become published?

As a measurable result of this field trip, students may create their own books and "publish" them by sharing the tales with others in the class. Instructions for putting the steps of process writing into action in the classroom, as a complement to each stop on the trip, are included on the Teacher's Resource page. In addition, more teaching suggestions for language arts and other subjects are described.

In the comprehensive language arts activity, students will choose a topic, create a dummy book, use a story map, examine the characters, and revise their work. They will also assign a title, make illustrations, write a statement for the beginning of the book, edit, answer questions about the writing experience and the book, and publish by sharing.

Because each time we create a document, letter, paragraph, or even sentence, we are in a sense "publishing" our thoughts, it is never a waste of effort to focus on the craft of writing. Examining the philosophies and practices of professionals is a great way to learn by example. Combining this with a study of the logical process of writing that is commonly used will help your students form a plan of attack for writing assignments. Hopefully, they will walk away from this activity with specific knowledge, examples, and one belief: "Writing? I can do that -- well!"


Upon completion of this module, students should be able to:

  • To introduce the steps of process writing
  • To study the writing practices of famous authors
  • To learn about ways to select topics
  • To study how writers create characters
  • To visualize the creation of a book from its inception to publication



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