Patterns of Wonder

Inviting Emergent Writers to Play with the Conventions of Language

When we create a safe space full of play and curiosity for our emergent writers, we capitalize on their natural desire to communicate and make meaning through language. This is the foundation of Patterns of Wonder, a thoughtfully designed extension of the highly praised Patterns of Power series. Through a lens of playful inquiry and possibility, authors Whitney La Rocca and Jeff Anderson show you how to use their invitational process to invite your PreK, kindergarten, and first grade emergent writers into an engaging world of excitement, energy, and―most of all―wonder.

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It’s no secret that emergent writers thrive in classrooms filled with inquiry, play, and wonder, but how can we invite our youngest writers into the conventions of language, engage them in authentic writing experiences, and capitalize on their natural curiosity around what writers do?

Building on the same playful qualities of the invitational process introduced in their bestselling Patterns of Power series, Whitney La Rocca and Jeff Anderson turn their instructional lens to our youngest writers, sharing new ways we can invite them to experiment, have fun, and take risks with writing and language. In this valuable resource, Whitney and Jeff: 

  • Introduce the Patterns of Wonder Phases of Emergent Writing as a way to reflect on the work young writers are doing and plan for effective, scaffolded instruction.
  • Outline an adjusted invitational process, adapted especially for use with emergent writers. 
  • Position grammar and concepts about print instruction across three overlapping levels of support: oral language, illustrating, and writing.
  • Include over 50 lesson sets that pinpoint and build cumulatively across the most common needs of emergent writers.
  • Feature over 200 engaging picture book recommendations to stir curious classroom conversations.

Grounded in play, conversation, and most of all, wonder, Patterns of Wonder brings Whitney and Jeff’s irrepressible excitement for inquiry and writing instruction to the ways we support our Pre-K, kindergarten and first-grade emergent writers.

Mentor Text Starter Bundles also available.

About the Author(s)

Whitney La Rocca, with more than 20 years in education, has been a teacher, a literacy coach, and a consultant, working with children and teachers across grade levels, schools, and districts.


For over thirty years, JEFF ANDERSON has inspired writers and teachers with the power and joy of writing and grammar. He has written ten books for Stenhouse Publishers, including the ground-breaking classic Mechanically Inclined. He lives near downtown San Antonio with his partner and their rescue pup.


Table of Contents

Foreword by Matt Glover ix


Acknowledgments xiii


Introduction: A Space for Wonder Is a Space for Writing 1


Part 1 Getting Started with the Patterns of Wonder Process 7


Chapter 1: The Patterns of Wonder Process 9


Chapter 2: The Patterns of Wonder Phases of Emergent Writing 21


Chapter 3: The Planning Behind the Patterns of Wonder Process 49


Chapter 4: The Patterns of Wonder Process in Action 65


Part 2 Into the Patterns of Wonder Lessons 75


Using the Patterns of Wonder Process in Your Classroom 77


Scribble Writing Lesson Sets 87


Lesson 1.1: Making Your Mark: Use Marks to Record Language 88

Lesson 1.2: What Could You Say? Use Words to Make Sentences 92

Lesson 1.3: Shake a Book and Nouns Fall Out: Nouns Show People, Places, and Things 97

Lesson 1.4: We Nail Verbs: Verbs Show What’s Happening 102

Lesson 1.5: What Color Is the Sky? Adjectives Tell What Kind 108

Lesson 1.6: You Can Count on Me: Adjectives Tell How Many 114

Lesson 1.7: Oh, Yes: Prepositions Tell Where 118

Lesson 1.8: And Adds More: Conjunctions 124

Lesson 1.9: What’s First? Use Transition Words to Share Thoughts in Order 129


Symbol and Letter Writing Lesson Sets 135


Lesson 2.1: On Your Marks . . . Use Marks, Symbols, and Letters to Record Language 136

Lesson 2.2: The Sounds of the Sea: Letter-Sound Correspondence 141 

Lesson 2.3: Jump into Sentences: Use Words to Make Sentences 146

Lesson 2.4: Say My Name: Capitalize Names 150

Lesson 2.5: Can I Be Your Noun? Nouns Show People, Places, and Things 155

Lesson 2.6: Writers Run into Verbs: Verbs Show and Tell Action 160

Lesson 2.7: The Powerful Dot: Periods Start Clicking 164

Lesson 2.8: Yello! I’m So Excited! Exclamation Marks 169

Lesson 2.9: Are There Any Questions? Question Marks 173

Lesson 2.10: Are All School Buses Yellow? Adjectives Tell What Kind 178

Lesson 2.11: Five Fingers, One Hand; Ten Toes, Two Feet: Adjectives

Lesson 2.12: In the Classroom: Prepositions Tell Where 187

Lesson 2.13: Dare to Use Joining Words: Conjunctions 293

Lesson 2.14: Writers Use Tools: Transition Words to Share Thoughts in Order 200 


Transitional Writing Lesson Sets 205


Lesson 3.1: The Sound of Words: Use Letters to Record Language and Make Words 206

Lesson 3.2: Letter Sounds Are No Accident: Letter-Sound Correspondence 210

Lesson 3.3: Be a Sentence Citizen: Use Words to Make Sentences 215

Lesson 3.4: Space Matters: Use Spaces Between Words 218

Lesson 3.5: The Name Game: Capitalize Names 223

Lesson 3.6: Off to a Good Start: Begin Sentences with Capital Letters 228

Lesson 3.7: Map Maker, Map Maker, Make Me a Map: Nouns Show People, Place, and Things 231

Lesson 3.8: The Replacements: Pronouns 235

Lesson 3.9: Verbs Gotta MOVE: Verbs Show Action 239

Lesson 3.10: At Lasso’s End: Periods 243

Lesson 3.11: Maybe Something Exciting: Exclamation Marks 247

Lesson 3.12: Going Up? Question Marks 252

Lesson 3.13: More to a Label Than a Noun: Adjectives Tell What Kind 255

Lesson 3.14: I Ate Three Snacks in Two Hours, But I’m Still Hungry:

Adjectives Tell How Many 260

Lesson 3.15: Where Is the Monster? Prepositions Tell Where 265

Lesson 3.16: BOA Connectors: Write More with Conjunctions 270

Lesson 3.17: Transitions Are Directions: Use Transition Words to Write Order 274


Conventional Writing Lesson Sets 279


Lesson 4.1: A Journey Through Words and Pictures: Use Letters

to Record Language and Make Words 280

Lesson 4.2: Splitting Hairs: Capitalize Names of People 283

Lesson 4.3: Place Time: Capitalize Names of People and Places 286

Lesson 4.4: Capitals Begin: Begin Sentences with Capital Letters 289

Lesson 4.5: Because I Say So: Capitalize the Pronoun I 295

Lesson 4.6: Don’t Cry over Spilled Crayons: Nouns Show People, Places,

and Things 298

Lesson 4.7: One Singular Sensation: Singular Nouns 301

Lesson 4.8: More Than One Amazing Person, Place, or Thing! Plural Nouns 305

Lesson 4.9: Match Game: Pronouns 310

Lesson 4.10: Verbs for All Seasons: Verbs Show Action 316

Lesson 4.11: Why? You Know WHY! The End Marks 320

Lesson 4.12: Is It a Toy Turtle, Pet Turtle, or Sea Turtle? Adjectives

Show What Kind 326

Lesson 4.13: Between Two Windows: Adjectives Show How Many 330

Lesson 4.14: We’re Adjectives, Too: A, An, The 333

Lesson 4.15: When and Where? Prepositions 337

Lesson 4.16: BOAS Connect! Conjunctions 341

Lesson 4.17: Planting Seeds: Use Transition Words to Write Order 348


Conclusion: An Adventure of Curiosity 353


Appendix A: Patterns of Wonder Across Literacy Settings 355 

Appendix B: Patterns of Wonder Across Patterns of Power 356 

Appendix C: Patterns of Wonder Planning Template 359

Children’s Literature Bibliography 361 

Professional Bibliography 367 

Credits 369

 Index 372



Product Details

Grades: PreK, K, 1
Media: 400 pp/paperMedia: Resource Book 5-pack (spiral bound)
Published: 12/2021
Item No: 1450Item No: 1570
ISBN: 978-1-62531-450-5ISBN: 978-1-62531-570-0
Publisher: Stenhouse PublishersPublisher: Stenhouse Publishers