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You know you're not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but these covers do not contain what you may suppose. You likely assume that the authors of these books are Doreen Cronin, Janice M. Del Negro, and Audrey Wood. If so, you are wrong. In fact, the authors are my daughters.

The local library had a crate of extra book jackets to give away, so I took a pile of them.  The girls each chose their favorite one; then, using clues from the title and cover illustration, they wrote their own stories. 

To make these books a little sturdier, we glued pieces of cardstock inside the front and back covers; we also printed their stories on cardstock.  To hold it all together, we anchored the pages by stapling along the left side.

After they were finished, we found the original stories to read and compare.

This simple idea inspires creativity while giving kids a starting point, taking away the dread of filling a blank piece of paper, leaving them with real writing they will be eager to share.

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Not into fiction?  Find a jacket for a non-fiction book.  I tutored a boy who would rather trap and skin mice than read or write. He chose the Amazing Sharks! book cover, researched his favorite sharks, wrote a paragraph about each one, and drew simple illustrations to go with his text. It still wasn't as riveting as playing with mice, but at least he could accomplish his mom's goals while studying nature, his other passion.

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