Writing Prompts: Spin-a-Story

WriteShop: Spin-a-Story

Can the mouse find its way home from a strange planet? Will the princess discover the secret passageway through an enchanted forest? Why did the tailor end up at sea, overhearing a mysterious plot? And what twists and turns appear in the character’s path? A predator? A storm? A locked room?

NEW! Spin-a-Story printable spinners help jumpstart a creative writing project by providing children with the basic elements of a story—character, setting, and plot. A spin of the pointer determines the story elements and sets a foundation for a  fun and creative writing experience.

Spin-a-Story gives children opportunities to
  • Use their imaginations to create fictional stories
  • Express themselves both verbally and in writing
  • Practice writing stories that have a beginning, middle, and end
  • Incorporate character qualities and emotions into their stories
  • Describe a story’s setting
  • Exciting Adventures! Spinner
  • Animal Adventures Spinner
  • Fantasy & Fairy Tales Spinner
  • Historical Adventures Spinner
Here’s an example from the “Animal Adventures” spinner:
1st spin for CHARACTER: a jungle animal
2nd spin for SETTING: in an abandoned building
3rd spin for PLOT: hears a cry for help
Spinners may be used by students of various ages. Though they are designed for grades 3-8, younger children and even teens can enjoy them too. (Instructions include ideas for using this activity with pre-writers.)

Interested in a freebie? Keeping A Gratitude Journal is available at WriteShop!

Here's a list of recommended reading for 5th and 6th graders:

  • Misadventures of Maude March
  • The Castle Corona
  • Elijah of Buxton
  • The Land of the Silver Apples
  • Ghosthunters (series)
  • Coraline
  • I Am Not Joey Pigza
  • Among the Free
  • Princess Academy
  • The Brooklyn Bridge
  • Everything on a Waffle
  • The Seekers (series)
  • Savvy
  • Keeping Score
  • Higher Power of Lucky
  • Hat Full of Sky
  • Esperanza Rising
  • Holes
  • Invention of Hugo Cabret
  • Baseball in April and Other Stories
  • Mysterious Benedict Society
  • Dragonwings
Looking for more?

  • The Loud Silence of Francine Green
  • Rangers Apprentice, The Ruins of Gorlan
  • Flush
  • Alex Rider Adventure (series)
  • Sisters of the Sword (series)
  • Maximum Ride (series)
  • Hush
Suggested Reading for 7th and 8th Grade Books:

  • King's Shadow
  • True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle
  • Blackwater
  • Face on the Milk Carton
  • Voice on the Radio
  • Midwife's Apprentice
  • Don't Look Behind You
  • Johnny Tremain
  • When Zachary Beaver Came to Town
  • Gentlehands
  • Kiss the Dust
  • Beauty
  • Can of Worms
  • Mary Bloody Mary
  • Ties that Bind, Ties that Break
  • Stones in Water
  • Stalker
  • The Car
  • Library Card
  • Shabanu
  • Homecoming
  • Machine Gunners
  • Dealing with Dragons
  • Stephen Fair
  • Dragon of the Lost Sea
  • Devil's Arithmetic
  • Armageddon Summer

Happy Reading!

Lady D

 “You can’t get a cup of tea big enough or a book long enough to suit me." C. S. Lewis

Book Review: The Breakfast Book

The Breakfast Book by Marion Cunningham

A charming, one-of-a-kind cookbook devoted exclusively to breakfast—that most American of meals which are enjoying a comeback all over the country. Here Marion Cunningham celebrates the simple pleasures of a good breakfast with 288 irresistible recipes for traditional favorites—from scones and sticky buns and popovers and hash browns to all kinds of eggs and pancakes and muffins—as well new treats. Her Great Coffee Cake lends itself to a variety of spicy, crunchy combinations; her Raw Fresh Fruit Jams can be made in just thirty minutes (with no cooking!); and her Oatmeal Bran and Mother’s Cookies are perfect for when breakfast is on the run. And for more leisurely moments and special occasions, Cunningham includes forty breakfast menus guaranteed to make the first meal of the day the best.

The Breakfast Book by Marion Cunningham

The Breakfast Book

I'm a fan of eating well in the morning. The fruit fresh from the orchard is appealing as well as a warm cake or bread, for sure. The author covers bread, muffins, eggs, cereals, all things toast, quick bread, fruit, potatoes, sweets, hearty meat and fish dishes, and breakfast beverages. Here are a few recipes from this must-have cookbook. It is well organized and the baking choices are quite delightful. I like this book and I'm so glad I found it at our local bookstore. I'm a huge fan of ginger, so here are some warm treats to try. You'll definitely want to further explore the lemon section of the book.

5/5 stars!


Makes about 40 cookies. Try crumbling them over oatmeal.

1/4 c. canola oil
1 cup sugar, plus extra to roll the cookies in
1 egg
1/4 cup molasses
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 and grease some cookie sheets.

Beat together the oil and sugar. Add eggs, beat until light and fluffy, and then add the molasses. In a separate bowl, stir and toss together the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, and cinnamon. Add dry ingredients to the first mixture, and beat until smooth and blended.

Gather up bits of the dough and roll them between the palms of your hands into 1-inch balls, then roll each ball in sugar. Place about 2 inched apart on the prepared cookie sheets and bake for 10-12 minutes until the cookies have spread and the tops have cracked. Remove from the oven, take the gingersnaps off the baking sheet, and let cool on the rack.

Soft Gingerbread

One 8-inch square gingerbread.

This fine-crumbled and finely spiced gingerbread is exceptionally good.

1 cup of sugar
1 cup dark molasses
1 cup of vegetable oil
3 eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 cup boiling water

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and lightly flour the baking pan.

Put the sugar, molasses, oil, and eggs in a mixing bowl and beat until smooth. In another bowl, combine the salt, cloves, ginger, cinnamon, flour, and baking soda and stir with a fork until well mixed. Stir into the first mixture. Add the boiling water and beat briskly until smooth. This is a thin batter. Pour into the pan and bake 40 to 45 minutes. Serve warm.

You may want to get, The Breakfast Book. I do recommend it.

Happy Reading!

Lady D

 “You can’t get a cup of tea big enough or a book long enough to suit me." C. S. Lewis
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