Explorer’s Guides:  Literature Teaching Ideas


from our fun, creative, experiential literature workshops


Your students can happily engage with great books—

and learn strong character traits, coping skills, and academic lessons!

Explorer’s Guides help you teach great books to kids in fun, hands-on, meaningful ways.

Since 2010, the two of us have been holding immersive literature workshops in Santa Cruz. Kids arrive having already read a particular classic book, and for three hours we “do what the characters did,” connecting each experience to key teaching points.  This helps kids learn valuable lessons in firsthand ways—and want to read more!

To share our literary joy with you and your kids, we’ve created a LitWits Explorer’s Guide for each book we’ve workshopped.  It’s a web page packed with our unique activity ideas and downloads, along with teaching points and academic printables. You get instant access at checkout, and there’s a PDF version included for easy printing.

It’s a rich, detailed collection of all you need to immerse kids in a great book (and teach great things), all in one place.  For the books on our current teaching schedule, we even sell LitWits Kits (boxes of supplies)–check the schedule here! No more surfing and patching together your lesson plans!

Each Explorer’s Guide resource for a particular book includes everything below:

  • sensory prop ideas:  see, hear, smell, and feel what the characters did
  • bookbites ideas:  taste what the characters ate
  • creative project ideas & instructions/templates:  make what a character made
  • kinetic activity ideas & instructions/prompts:  do what a character did (or might/should have!)
  • academic handouts:  learn the story’s narrative arc, vocabulary, setting, and more
  • creative writing handouts: write what a character wrote or felt
  • takeaway topics:  know what the characters knew
  • learning links:  learn more about what the characters’ world was like
  • audiovisual links:  see and hear what the characters’ world looked and sounded like
  • CCSS alignment:  check off lots of boxes!

How to use our Explorer’s Guides in your home or classroom

Just pull the parts that work for you and your kids! Even in a single activity or BookBites snack, we’ve given you lots to talk about.  (Don’t feel you have to hold a half-day workshop like we did — good grief, who has time for that? That’s why homeschool parents in Santa Cruz have been sending their kids to us since 2010!)

Questions? Check out our FAQ, or get in touch with us.

We didn't just make faces - we learned about dodecahedrons, the etymology of the word, and the nuanced power of nonverbal expression! Thank you Norton Juster!
Making faces (12!), while learning some geometry, the Greek etymology of "dodecahedron," and the nuanced power of nonverbal expression! From the LitWits experience of THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH
Visit our store to see all the books we've ``done!``

It’s amazing how much kids learn while they’re “just” having fun.  Here’s how and why!

We hold experiential workshops for kids in Santa Cruz.
Then we turn those workshops into online Explorer’s Guides.