The Creative Writing Made Easy! series combines sequential development of the creative writing process with drawing, games, paper dolls, outdoor activities, art projects, and other activities that relate to topics about which students are writing. The target audience is ages eight to twelve—about third grade through sixth grade. Two of the six books are written particularly for girls and one particularly for boys, and the others will readily suit either boys or girls.
All books are softcover with about 90 to 100 pages each. These are consumable books, and each student will need his or her own book.
Five of the books work through the writing process, directing students through lessons that help them develop story ideas, create interesting characters, create a setting and a plot, learn how to show rather than tell, use colorful adjectives and strong verbs, use dialog, and edit their story. (The sixth book works in conjunction with one of these books.) The context and associated activities are very different in each book. So, even though students are learning the same writing processes in each book, applying them in new contexts each time will probably keep them interested and engaged.
Zany Zoo Adventures in Writing seems best for younger students with illustrations of cute versions of zoo animals and sensory activities. A couple of the activities unique to this book are playing animal charades and randomly drawing cards that have either animals or plot elements to be incorporated into a story.
Ocean Adventures in Writing also seems great for younger students with its cartoon sea creatures and coloring pages. Unique activities are predesigned cartoon drawings for creating a cartoon strip and using ocean animal fact pages as a starting point for creating characters.
The remaining books seem best for slightly older students. The Isabel books and Battle Cry! should allow students to do more independent work than the others.
Two books, Introducing Isabel and Isabel’s Closet Paper Doll and Craft Book, work together in this course written especially for girls. Introducing Isabel presents the backstory for Isabel, a Christian girl who owns a horse and lives on a ranch in Colorado. A princess is coming to spend the summer with her neighbor, and this becomes the springboard for the story each student will write. Isabel’s Closet provides paper dolls and wardrobes to create outfits that can be colored and cut out for both Isabel and the princess. Introducing Isabel directs students to create outfits for them that are suitable for different points in the story, using Isabel’s Closet to create them. So both books are interdependent.
Battle Cry!: Write a Soldier’s Adventure was written with boys in mind. Activities to support story writing include creating a boot camp obstacle course, writing secret code for military communication, creating a makeshift tent, role playing battles with a Nerf or water gun, and playing Capture the Flag. (Lots of girls might enjoy this book too.)
Spies of the Revolutionary War combines composition work with some study of history and creation of a lapbook. Historical information within the book focuses especially on George Washington’s Culper Ring (a ring of spies), and students will write a spy adventure using some of what they learn about spy techniques. Activities include creating a secret spy code, creating a dead drop to pass secret information, and making a battle drum. The lapbook aspect is relatively simple compared to many other lapbooks, and it reinforces elements of the writing process as well as spycraft.
All except the Isabel books culminate with students presenting a reading of their final story in a “flashlight theater” setting with snacks. Recipes are included in all except Spies of the Revolutionary War.
The story writing process and many of the creative activities will work best with at least two students working together. However, if that’s not possible, the rest of your family can get involved instead. Reluctant writers should find positive motivation with the Creative Writing Made Easy! books, and the incremental presentation of the writing process should help ensure successful results.