Tuesday, May 19, 2020

ReFoReMo Mini-Monthly Writing Challenge: Writing Stories About Words

By Janie Reinart

... I loved only words: I would raise up cathedrals of words 
beneath the blue gaze of the word sky
I would build for thousands of years.
~Jean-Paul Sartre

We love our words. We build stories word by word. But have you ever written a story about words? That is your challenge. Build a story about words beneath the blue gaze of the word sky. 

By Jen Bryant

One of my favorite picture books is A River of Words. This biography about poet 
William Carlos Williams tells how Willie's words gave him freedom and peace. The end pages are full of his poetry.

"Like the other boys in Rutherford, New Jersey, Willie Williams loved to play baseball and to race his friends up and down the street. But when the other boys went inside, Willie stayed outside. Climbing over the fence in his back yard, he wandered alone through the woods and fields."

By Peter H. Reynolds
This story sounds like all of us who keep word journals. This story is a "celebration of finding your own words -- and the impact you can have when you share them with the world."

"Some collect bugs. Others collect baseball cards. Some people collect comic books. 
And Jerome? What did he collect? Jerome collected words."

By Melanie Florence

What would happen if someone stole your words? When a little girl comes home from school and asks her grandpa how to say a word in his Cree language, he is sad because he doesn't remember the words. He tells her his words were stolen from him. The grandfather then tells the tale of being taken to a residential school when he was a boy.  

"She came home from school today. Skipping and dancing. Humming a song under her breath. Clutching a dream catcher she had made from odds and ends. Bits of string. Plastic beads. And brightly colored feathers. Her glossy braids danced against her shoulders. Swaying with her. Black as a raven's wing."

By Rebeca Van Dyke

Lexi is a strong cowgirl. She protects baby letters as they grow. And ties shorter words together to make longer words. She herds words into sentences and corrals them to tell a story. Then letters start disappearing. The "D" disappears from her bandana leaving Lexi with a banana.  

"Lexi was the best wrangler west of the Mississippi, and everyone knew it. She wore a tall hat, fancy boots, and a bandana."

From nonfiction biographies to dictionaries, have fun building stories about words. Did you notice all the mentor texts have WORD in their titles? Raise up your own cathedral and build your stories... for a thousand years. 


  1. Thank you. Words are my world is the name of my website (when i had one, but it will be coming back) and my facebook page... Words have always been my world. Not pictures. Stories. Words.

  2. LOVE this post! Great inspiration this morning. AND some terrific new stories to study. Thank you, Janie.

    1. Yeah! I love looking at new stories too!

  3. Love word books and had not heard about STOLEN Words. Puttigit on my TBR list. Thank you for your email, Janie.

  4. Kathy, I have a copy of Stolen Words in my personal library.

  5. great post! And some new books to look for - thanks, Janie!

  6. Wonderful post! I like the challenge of writing a story about words. Hmmm. Might just have to jot down my ideas. Thanks!

  7. Interesting post, Janie. I had not heard of all those words books. A nice assortment.

  8. Such a delightful collection of word books. Thanks for sharing! I hope you saw the Obamas read the Word Collector (I found a link on twitter to the Chicago Public Library reading). It was magical!

  9. For anyone who hasn't seen it, I highly recommend Mouselings Words, by Shutta Crum.

  10. River of Words is one of my favorites, along with The Word Collector. Today, I'm struggling to build something more than a lean-to, a place-holder for when the cornerstones of my cathedral arrive.

  11. WORDS! Yes! Thank you, Janie, for this trip with our favorite tools. I'll have to add some of these titles to my reading list :)

  12. Great list! Thanks for this post. I love stories about words.

  13. I love A River of Words. Thanks for this list.