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Each text in Inkwell’s Author Craft series is carefully chosen for its literary quality, worthwhile thematic content, and appeal to children. Students read and study a classic work of literature, appreciate its author’s expert writing craft, and then write an original work based on that author’s genre and style. The books provide ideas and inspiration to write. By apprenticing with a master, students are then poised for reading and writing success.

Reading Curriculum

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Writing with Aesop

The best form of flattery is imitation. It’s also one of the best ways to learn to write. By imitating the animal fables of Aesop, students learn to paraphrase and to improve their writing style with stronger word choices and greater sentence variety. They also edit their work for grammatical and mechanical correctness. To achieve mastery, they undergo the same process and practice the same techniques with each fable, developing skills important for research and presentation. After polishing their fables, students publish them in a book of their own design.

Skills Focus:

  • reading comprehension — main idea

  • writing — paraphrase

  • literary devices — dialogue

Grades 3-4

The cover of the Writing with Aesop book

Just So Stories

Selections from Rudyard Kipling’s Just So Stories, a delightful classic of animal origin tales, provide enjoyable opportunities for learning. Students identify story elements, answer questions about sequencing of events and relationships between characters, and appreciate figurative and rhetorical devices. After writing summaries of each story, they write an imaginative “Just So” story of their own. A good followup to the stories is the Inkwell book Animal Crackers, a unit on animal poems. It piggybacks nicely on the poems in Kipling’s stories. The supplement features poetry in various forms–from haiku to narrative poems.

Skills Focus:

  • reading comprehension — main idea

  • writing — summary

  • literary devices — figurative and rhetorical language

Grades 5-7

The cover of the Just So Stories book

Treasure Island Adventure

Students enjoy a swashbuckling adventure while exploring Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island. Reading this classic tale about a perilous sea journey, mutiny, and buried treasure, they learn about literary elements like characterization, genre, point of view, symbolism, and figurative language. Students complete reading and writing assignments. They then revise their compositions, entering them in their pirate’s ship’s log. Various supplemental activities and exercises are suggested to immerse students in the culture of pirate times — like tying sailors’ knots, sketching merchant ships and routes, and speaking pirate language.

Grades 5-7

The cover of the Treasure Island Adventures book

Shakespeare’s Stories & Sonnets

This book uses the text of brother and sister Charles and Mary Lamb’s adept adaptation for children of some of the most popular Shakespearean dramas. The Lambs retain much of Shakespeare’s original language so that students can become familiar with and learn to appreciate it. The textbook also includes several well-known Shakespearean sonnets. It focuses on making Shakespeare accessible and enjoyable.

Introducing children to the Bard of Avon while they are still young implants a love for his language and storytelling. Having been acquainted with the characters and plot lines, students will be better equipped to understand  the complexities of his plays when studying them in high school.

Skill Focus:

  • reading comprehension — conflict and character development

  • writing — summary

  • literary devices — plot and subplot

Grades 6-7

The cover of the Shakespeare's Stories & Sonnets

Publishers' Books

Inkwell also has curriculum developed to accompany other children’s classics available from various publishers …

  • D’Aulaires’ Greek Myths with a skill focus on summary (recommended for grades 4-6)

  • Robert McCloskey’s Homer Price with a skill focus on episodic story writing (recommended for grades 5-6)

  • C. S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe with a skill focus on paragraph writing (recommended for grades 5-6)

  • Armstrong Sperry’s Call It Courage with a skill focus on paragraph to essay writing (recommended for grades 6-7)

  • Gerald Durrell’s memoir My Family and Other Animals with a focus on research writing skills (recommended for grades 7-10)


If you do not see a particular book that interests your child, please discuss other options with your tutor.

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