1st Edition

Patterns of Wonder, Grades PreK-1 Inviting Emergent Writers to Play with the Conventions of Language

By Whitney La Rocca, Jeff Anderson Copyright 2022

    Whitney La Rocca and Jeff Anderson adapt their vibrant approach to grammar instruction in Patterns of Wonder, Grades Prek-1: Inviting Emergent Writers to Play with the Conventions of Language. Here, young, emergent writers are invited to notice the conventions of language and build off them in this inquiry-based approach to instructional grammar. The book comes with standards-aligned lessons that can be incorporated in just 10 minutes a day. Patterns of Wonder’s responsive, invitational approach allows young students to play and inquire about language and experiment, take risks, and have fun. Inside you’ll find:

    • Ready-to-use lesson plan sets that pinpoint and build across the most common needs of emergent writers
    • An adjusted invitational process adapted for young learners, and the "Phases of Emergent Writing" as tools to plan for effective, scaffolded instruction
    • How to position grammar concepts about print instruction across three overlapping levels of support: oral language, illustrating, and writing
    • Over 200 engaging picture book recommendations to stir curious classroom conversations

    Patterns of Wonder, Grades PreK-1 provides a simple classroom routine that is structured in length and approach, but provides teachers flexibility in choosing the texts, allowing for numerous, diverse voices in the classroom. The practice helps students build cognitive recognition and provides a formative assessment for teachers on student progress. Grounded in play, conversation, and most of all, wonder, Patterns of Wonder brings the authors’ irrepressible excitement for inquiry and writing instruction to the ways we support our Pre-K, Kindergarten and 1st grade emergent writers. The Patterns of Power series also includes Patterns of Power, Grades 6-8: Inviting Adolescent Writers into the Conventions of Language; Patterns of Power, Grades 1-5: Inviting Young Writers into the Conventions of Language; Patterns of Power, Grades 9-12: Teaching Grammar Through Reading and Writing; and Patterns of Power en Español. Grades 1-5: Inviting Bilingual Writers into the Conventions of Spanish.

    Foreword by Matt Glover


    Introduction: A Space for Wonder Is a Space for Writing

    Part 1 Getting Started with the Patterns of Wonder Process

    1. The Patterns of Wonder Process

    2. The Patterns of Wonder Phases of Emergent Writing

    3. The Planning Behind the Patterns of Wonder Process

    4. The Patterns of Wonder Process in Action

    Part 2 Into the Patterns of Wonder Lessons

    5. Scribble Writing Lesson Sets

    6. Symbol and Letter Writing Lesson Sets

    7. Transitional Writing Lesson Sets

    8. Conventional Writing Lesson Sets

    Conclusion: An Adventure of Curiosity


    Appendix A: Patterns of Wonder Across Literacy Settings

    Appendix B: Patterns of Wonder to Patterns of Power

    Appendix C: Patterns of Wonder Planning Template

    Children’s Literature Bibliography

    Professional Bibliography




    Whitney La Rocca is an elementary literacy coach and has spent over 20 years working with young readers and writers. She enjoys delivering professional development and coaching teachers in best practices to empower children to create their identities in the world of literacy.

    For over thirty years, Jeff Anderson has inspired writers and teachers of grades K–8 with the power and joy of the writing and grammar. He has written eight books for Stenhouse Publishers. He also writes middle-grade novels.

    Patterns of Wonder is pure gold. It is rooted in oral language, promotes play, and fosters a love of writing as it moves students through the phases of emergent writing. This book is going to transform instruction and be a resource that teachers reference daily.”

    Angela Buccheri, P-5 Humanities Coordinator Wallingford Public Schools

    "I am so excited for Whitney and Jeff’s book to be in the hands of early childhood educators. In Patterns of Wonder they answer the question, 'What can developmentally-appropriate and engaging grammar, punctuation, and spelling instruction look like for our youngest writers?' Built on a strong research and theoretical foundation, they provide dozens of use-tomorrow lessons that will pique students’ curiosity about our written language and ignite wonder and excitement as they learn, play, and apply what they’ve learned to their own writing. Do away with the worksheets! Whitney and Jeff’s way of inviting children to learn these concepts will engage them so your teaching sticks."

    Jennifer Serravallo, author of The Reading Strategies Book and The Writing Strategies Book

    “Whitney La Rocca and Jeff Anderson have created a revolutionary resource for inviting emergent writers to notice and WONDER about the conventions of language. Considering the intentionality of why and how behind an author’s choices, they inspire writers to compose powerful messages through oral language, illustrations, and words. The scaffolded lessons incorporate oral discussion, mentor texts, and play-based experiences to appropriately meet young students where they are in the phases of writing development, differentiating instruction, and moving writers forward one approximation at a time.”

    Megan Marquez, M.Ed., Writing Specialist

    Patterns of Wonder is the game changer teachers have been waiting for! Whitney and Jeff keep play at the center of emergent writers’ development with practical applications that are beautifully woven together. Every teacher should add this book to their toolkit.”

    Sarah Ramirez, M.Ed., Literacy Coach

    “Imagine budding authors playfully celebrating the joy and possibility of written language as they share their stories. This will happen when you invite Whitney, Jeff, and their favorite picture books into your classroom. Learners at all development phases will confidently create their own written worlds while engaging in the Patterns of Wonder process. You’ll be amazed at what your young writers can do as they discover the patterns behind the wonder.”

    Maria Walther, Author of The Ramped-Up Read Aloud, The Literacy Workshop, and Shake Up Shared Reading

    “Patterns of Wonder is a must-have for educators eager to engage and encourage our youngest writers. The invitational process provides the perfect backdrop to cultivate an appreciation for the beauty and power of language, as students ponder not only what authors do, but how they do it, in a nurturing, playful environment that celebrates both process and product. The buzz of excitement and flurry of hands in the air is a testament to a resource that is practically perfect in every way.”

    Patricia Gallery, K-5 ELA and Literacy Specialist, Smithtown Central School District, New York

    “Once again, Whitney and Jeff have produced a valuable tool for teachers that has quality lessons and is easy to pick up and implement quickly!” —Evan Payne, Instructional Coach

    “Patterns of Wonder speaks to my experienced kindergarten writing teacher heart! Whitney and Jeff’sPatterns of Wonder process and lessons have beautifully honored the emergent writer’s sense of wonder and their need to learn through approximation, inquiry, and play. Children are going to WANT to spend time every day putting their stories into pictures and words!”

    Carolyn Helmers, Kindergarten Teacher, Cincinnati, OH and Co-author of Intentional from the Start