A New Kind of Book

For years I’ve been working with the 6 + 1 Traits of Writing in my classroom and have been so pleased with the results. I have learned a lot myself about writing, instruction, and recognizing what authors have done well in their work.

When I first learned about the Traits I liked the idea of circle story organization. If you haven’t heard the term before, a circle story is one in which the character begins and ends the story in the same place. It could be a literal or figurative place, but the story leaves readers feeling as though the story could endlessly repeat itself. Think of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. Doesn’t it seem like that pesky mouse is going to keep up his repetitive shenanigans? You get the idea.

I think I may have invented a term for a similar type of book. Some books have conclusions in which the character is not in the same place, or facing the identical problem, but that the story may continue in a slightly new direction. I call these books “spiral stories”. (I just copyrighted that phrase so don’t even think about snatching it, pal). The stories don’t quite come back full circle. One such story is Imogene’s Antlers. Imogene wakes up with a pair of antlers, awkwardness ensues, and the next day she wakes up with another similar dilemma.

Circle Story

Spiral Story

I love stories like these! Kids get a kick out of them because they offer that satisfying twist we all love so much. They’re clever. They’re unique. They’re tricky to write. All things to admire in a literary work. Try using a spiral story next time you teach organization to your students. Let me know which books worked for you!