Writing First Chapter Books and Early Readers 2019

About This Event


Gain understanding of the unique needs of books for children who are beginning to read independently.

Do you remember the first time you read a book all by yourself? Was it The Cat in the Hat or Frog and Toad? Do you pause in front of library shelves featuring Mercy Watson and Ivy & Bean? Do you want to bring joy and confidence to readers who are picking up a book on their own for the very first time? If so, this workshop is for you.

In between the read-aloud world of picture books and the more challenging realm of chapter books lies an exciting spectrum of fiction and nonfiction for beginning readers. These early readers and first chapter books spark a love of independent reading and build confidence in brand-new readers.

What You’ll Learn

Find out the differences between picture books, early readers, and transitional chapter books.

Examine what makes the best books for this age group successful.

Zero in on where your work–fiction, nonfiction, or both–fits in.

Learn how to generate new ideas.

Learn about researching and writing your stories.

Discover how to find the right publishing home for your work.

Have one-on-one critique sessions with a workshop leader.

Have workshop sessions from faculty.

Try writing exercises to strengthen your work-in-progress.

Enjoy free time for writing.

Who Should Attend

Writers who are interested in writing for beginning readers.

Writer/illustrators who want to learn where their work fits in.


Day 1


Arrival and check in


Appetizers and Dinner

After dinner: Welcome from Laurie and Wiley

Skype Visit with Renee Hooker, Penguin Books for Young Readers

Day 2



Lecture: How Early Readers Help Kids Learn to Read, Wiley

One-to-Ones/Personal Writing Time



Writing Exercise, Laurie

Guest speaker, Grace Macarone, Holiday House


Appetizers and Dinner

After dinner: S’mores on the Patio and book signing

Day 3



Lecture: Beyond Baby Books: Character, Setting, and Structure in Early Readers and First Chapter Books

One-to-Ones/Personal Writing Time



Writing Exercise, Wiley — Pacing/Page Turns

Skype with Tamar Mays from HarperCollins Books for Young Readers


Appetizers and Dinner

After dinner: Open Mic

Day 4



Opportunities in Educational/Trade Work-for-Hire, Wiley

Writing Exercise, Laurie

Final words/questions/goals to bring home


Lunch and Farewells


Wiley Blevins: Early Readers and Transitional Chapter Books: What Are They and Why Are They Important?

Laurie Calkhoven: Picture book? Early Reader? Chapter Book? Where Does Your Story Fit?

New for New Readers: What (Exactly) IS an Easy Reader?

Theodor Seuss Geisel Award, given annually to the author(s) and illustrator(s) of the most distinguished American book for beginning readers published in English in the United States during the preceding year.

Laurie Calkhoven: Meditation to Uncover Character

Scholastic’s Branches, a line of early chapter books.


“The faculty were knowledgeable and engaging. They exceeded my expectations.”

“I was overwhelmed by the amount of personal time we had with the teachers. They were so open and available. Easy to talk to. I gained so much through our conversations.”

Cancellation Policy

100% deposit refund for cancellation 30+ days before event.
50% deposit refund for cancellation 15-29 days before event.
0% deposit refund for cancellation 0-14 days before event.
The remaining balance (total price minus deposit) is due upon arrival.
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