Since 2010 we’ve been turning great books into experiential workshops for local kids, who arrive having already read the book. For several hours they get to taste, touch, hear, smell, and do what the characters did (often with hilarious twists), while we weave in discussion points and original academic handouts. It’s like a field trip inside the book!
Both avid and reluctant readers have a blast, and their knowledge and empathy increase, and best of all, they’re inspired to read more. We can’t keep the joy to ourselves, but neither can we do all the in-class workshops that schools and co-ops request! So . . .
For every experiential workshop and LitWits Kit, we’ve reached straight into the story to come up with:
sensory props: kids see, hear, smell, and feel what the characters did
BookBites: kids taste what the characters ate
creative projects: kids make what a character made
kinetic activities: kids do what a character did
academic handouts: kids learn the story’s narrative arc, vocabulary, setting, and more
creative writing: kids write what a character wrote or felt
ALL our unique ideas and materials are packed into every kit — project and activity directions, models, templates, and prompts; academic printables with keys; takeaway topics for discussion; BookBites and prop ideas, audiovisual and information links, and more. We’ve saved you countless hours creating fun, memorable, lesson-packed experiences. Check out our gallery for examples, and visit our store to see all the books we’ve “done!”
It’s amazing how much kids learn while they’re “just” having fun. Scroll down to see why!
Experience IS comprehension! When kids taste, touch, hear, and smell a story, it gets up off the page and becomes more real to them. They get it.
Participating in characters’ experiences, handling interesting items, listening to traditional music, recreating objects, and dining on food from the book are ways of bringing that other world up close. It’s really a way of traveling through time!
When kids experience a story firsthand, it’s easier for them to relate to the characters, and understand the impact of time and place. And that helps them see the dynamic, creative impact of their own setting on their own character, too.
When we play games and do puzzles or skits that lead us to deeper meanings within a story, we help kids learn discernment and develop their intuition.
There’s so much more to a great book than meets the eye, and discovering its symbols is like finding clues to a treasure — that is, the theme and its universal truths.
Figuring out what an author was really trying to say develops critical thinking skills. There’s lifelong value in the ability to notice patterns, connect meanings, read between the lines, and decipher underlying messages.
When we bring cultural allusions into three dimensions through art, music, props, and other tactile experiences, we help children understand that literature lets them in on the references made by adults — and they’ll want to read more because they enjoy the feeling of being well-read. No one likes to feel left out!
Making these allusions understandable and memorable through sensory involvement is a great way to help kids feel included in society. It builds confidence to “get it” – to be in on the joke, the allusion, the quotation.
And when they comprehend that literature is a prime source of these references, they’re more motivated to read enduring, enriching books.
When we help kids visualize and “touch” the author’s world, they understand why he or she felt certain ways about certain things that show up in the book. Getting under the author’s skin and grasping the idea of influence is key to developing critical thinking skills – and, someday, to writing thesis papers.
When we use sensory “clues” to help kids spot connections between the author’s life and book, they see that a book represents a real person. It’s a level of awareness they’ll draw on as they develop their own power to impart their beliefs on a page.
When we engage kids in activities and projects that help them see the way a story is plotted, they have an easier time understanding what’s happening and why — which helps them intuitively plan their own story writing, too.
When kids artistically enhance a scene or recreate an important item, it helps them really see and feel it in three dimensions.
Experiencing literature allows kids to absorb its subtle lessons naturally. Because books, after all, are not about words but experiences of action and being. By joining the characters in their experiences, kids connect with great books — and want to read more.
And we know that when kids read for fun, they learn for life. What they learn depends on what they’re reading.