Some writing programs call this non-fiction writing, I like to call it All About Books. The whole idea is for children to write some facts that they already know about a subject – the fun part is that they can write things they know about anything!
This is really like an extension of concept books, where the children chose a topic and wrote one word or a short phrase about the topic on each page. In an All About Book the children would write a sentence or two on each page, telling things they know about the topic they chose. If you have been writing lists, these lists are helpful for children to get ideas of something they know about. You could even make a list of things the children know some things about – and then make a list of facts about each topic. To change these lists into All About Books the children just need to write whole sentences that add some description and detail.
Like most kinds of writing it is really helpful to model All About Books in front of your class, but I think they really need to see a bunch of samples. It doesn’t take long to make a few books that you can read to your class, or leave out for them to read on their own. I tried to find topics that they would like, but not necessarily just copy.
Here are a couple of example books:
Here is the template I used for these small books, there are 2 on a page.
I ran off these pages back to back which made a booklet with a cover and 3 pages when you cut it in half and fold it. You could make extra pages to be stapled inside.
If your children are writing more or longer sentences you could enlarge these books to 1/2 page or even a full page for each “fact” they write. At my school copy paper was at a premium so I often made books small, but the children have to be able to write in the space you allow.
The next step in Writer’s Workshop might be How To Books. Basically these would be similar to the All About Books, but the pages/boxes would be numbered so the children could tell how to do something in the right order, step by step. It is also a little harder to illustrate How To Books, you might choose to just have the children write.
Here is a template for the booklets I used for Small Moment stories too – They were copied back to back and folded in half, again you could provide extra pages for children who are ready to write longer stories.
Here is a copy of a chart that we discussed and referred to often – When you think you’re done …
I also used a cute song that reinforces concepts about print in reading and writing – sorry I can’t credit the author.