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Professional Learning
Pixie Icon


Software for student publishing and creativity.

Wixie Icon


Online student publishing and creativity platform.

Frames Icon


Create animations, digital stories, and stop-motion.

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Create web sites, epubs, and presentations.

Tech4Learning Blog
Tech4Learning Blog
Tech4Learning Blog
Tech4Learning Blog

Adapting your favorite books with Wixie in First Grade

Posted by Melinda Kolk on Mar 22, 2022 8:35:57 AM

Wixie makes it easy to use your favorite picture books to turn your first-grade readers into writers! Read a story aloud to your students and assign a sentence stem they can use to support their writing.

Wixie’s Templates library includes a range of book adaptation activities you can assign to students immediately. You can also use Wixie’s authoring tools to craft your own sentence starters, making the perfect project for your learners.

Simple sentence stems

Emerging readers love pattern stories, but that doesn't limit student writing to just those titles. Craft a sentence stem that only needs a single word or phrase to tell a new story. Then, after you read the story together, have each student create an adaptation by completing the sentence and creating a supporting illustration.

Combine each student's individual page into a class book. The pattern builds the confidence readers need to take on the words they don't know and the illustration helps even more by providing a visual clue to the new word, or words, in each sentence. 

Snowmen at Night - Caralyn Buehner

Most students are familiar with the Frosty the Snowman song and have likely already imagined what a lifelike snowman might want to do. (template)

"At night, my snowmen _______."

wixie-sample-snowmen-at-night-sonar(snowman snore)

Balloons over Broadway - Melissa Sweet

This fun story about the man behind the balloons at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade is a hit in November. This book can make watching the parade even more fun and turn your students into designers as well as writers. (template)

"The perfect balloon for next year’s parade is a ________."


What if you Had Animal Feet - Sandra Markle

This simple approach even works to connect science and writing. Read this fun story and have your students choose which animal feet they would like to have. Have them add thought bubbles, or use Wixie's microphone tool to share what new things they could do with this adaptation. (template)

"I wish that I had __________ feet."


Rhyming stories

Stories for emerging readers also use rhyme to help them identify and predict words they don't yet know how to read. Writing with rhyme can help them develop a deeper understanding of letter-sound correspondence.

There's a Wocket in my Pocket - Dr. Seuss

A Dr. Seuss staple, this fun story helps students build phonics skills by pairing nonsense words they have to sound out, with rhyming words they likely already know. Have students use this same method to phonetically create the name of an imaginary character by rhyming with a location word they know. (template)

"Sometimes I have the feeling, there is a _____________ in my  _____________  ."


Down by the Bay - Raffi

Raffi is a kid-favorite singer, and some of his work has been converted into books like, Down by the Bay. You can use the rhyming pattern in the song to challenge student writers to build vocabulary and strengthen word choice. (template)

For if I do, my mother will say,
“Have you ever seen a ______________, _______________,
down by the bay.”

Cause and effect sequence stories

There are so many great books to help you combine procedural writing with cause and effect to help students build logic and sequencing skills.

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie - Laura Numeroff

This wonderfully silly story tells the crazy tale of what happens when you simply give a mouse a cookie. Students love the twists and turns in the story, providing a powerful opportunity to explore cause and effect. (template)

"If you give a ___________ a ____________, it will want _____________."

This is the Way We Go to School - Edith Baer

Before students write how-to stories on their own, read Edith Baer's fun rhyming story about all the ways different students get to school. Then have your students share the various forms of transportation they take to go to school. (template)

"____________ (name) takes ____________, in order to _____________."


At the beginning of the year, you may simply want to use just the first part of the stem to explore the different ways your students get to school. Later in the year, you can extend their writing with the "in order to" text to get them to consider the benefits of each form of transportation.

Open-ended story adaptations

If your emergent writers need a challenge, craft a new prompt that provides opportunities for multiple sentences or variations. Then, have them work individually to write, illustrate, and record their own narratives.

The Cat in the Hat - Dr. Seuss

This Dr. Seuss classic works great for conversations about actions and consequences and provides a great prompt for storytelling about play and rules, fun and respect. (template)

"The Cat in the Hat came to our class and... "

The Unusual Egg - Emily Gravett

This fun story is about an unusual duck who hatches an unusual egg. You can pair this with science explorations of all the different animals that hatch from eggs, like fish, reptiles, birds, and even platypuses! You can also leave it wide open to their imagination! (template)

"One day I found an unusual egg."


If I were only 1 Inch Tall - poem by Shel Silverstein

Shel Silverstein's imaginative look at childhood and unique take on the world around us is a great way to inspire narrative writing that is full of your students' imagination. (template)

"If I were only 1 Inch tall, "


Wixie makes it easy to combine student writing with visuals and oral narration. This gives students an opportunity to demonstrate learning without struggling to type or tell their story solely using words. Recording narration allows students to practice reading and provides teachers with an assessment of their reading fluency.

To create an adaptation, choose your favorite pattern story. Read it aloud to your students and work together to identify the pattern found. Then, use the pattern to have each student create a single page for a class book or create the entire book on their own.

Managing student writing

If the writing involves just one word, you can have students work independently in a lab or center/station. If they have basic tech skills, they can type the word on their own using inventive spelling.

If students are new to technology or need assistance, have them rotate through a station with you or work with each student on your interactive whiteboard to model for others. Consider asking students in a higher grade to support your learners as they create illustrations and record narration.

It's time to publish!

Sharing and showcasing student work is a huge factor in motivating students to do their best work. Whether you have each student create a single page of a class book, work collaboratively to adapt a classic, or ask each student to design their own book, be sure to publish their work.

If your plan is to create a printed book for your classroom library, find a company that provides easy-to-assemble cardboard covers or make your own so your book looks professional and lasts through many uses. You can also export student work from Wixie as an image and then upload to a photo sharing site to publish as a soft or hard cover book. This also makes it easy for parents to buy a copy of the book for students to read and show off at home.

If students have recorded voice narration to their page, printed books won’t capture this precious memory. Use Wixie to combine individual student work into one file. Use Wixie’s Show feature to present it to the entire class at a publishing party. Be sure to use the download options under Wixie's file menu to publish the combined file as an eBook or PDF they can read on devices in class or at home.


No matter which story you choose or how you publish, Wixie makes it easy to use your favorite picture books to turn your emerging writers into budding authors.

Topics: Wixie

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