DigiLit Sunday: Craft Moves

Digilit Sunday is hosted by Margaret Simon @ Reflections on the Teche each week. Today, despite the flooding in South Louisana, Margaret finds fun and beautiful craft moves with digital tools.


I meet my new students Tuesday. Crafting our writing digitally is not in next week’s lesson plan. But, noticing and understanding craft is.

Figuring out the meaning and reacting to it is the joy of any media consumption.
Understanding how the author created that experience is next.

Taking cues from a few brilliant friends, I hope to bring the idea of craft, what it is and how the author did it, to the forefront of every reading, viewing and listening experience. The mood created when we consume media could be argued to be the essence of why we consume. That special something that makes the reader care involves craft.

Trevor Bryan’s work with the Art of Comprehension can help students understand mood and meaning. We start by viewing static pictures and then grow our thinking to the more complex and dynamic media. Trevor’s steps to analyze media go something like this:

1. list everything you see
2. summarize/retell
3.determine mood(s)
4. support thinking, find patterns
5 determine big ideas/theme
6. make connections

This process allows students to notice things an author /illustrator does and then link it to the feeling or the mood created by the text. By doing this, subtle craft moves become clearer. Try the six-steps with this picture from Jacqueline Woodson’s Each Kindness illustrated by E.B. Lewis.


Kimberley Moran who is taking the Institute for Writers course on children’s literature shared one her assignments with me. It reminds me of the work Trevor is doing, but it pushes me to write.

1. watch an interaction
2.write everything you see
3.describe what the participants are thinking

I tried it with another picture from Woodson’s book.


The sun shines in the east; things are growing. The girls stand on the blacktop. Two of the four stand close together their hands at their sides. The girl in the light pink dress is the centerpiece. Her hands behind her back, she talks to the side by side girls. The fourth girl stands apart. Her hands behind her back, like our girl at the center. She is a mirror to the girl in the light pink dress, touched by her long shadow.

What do their actions say? How does their stance tell me what they are thinking but not saying? This process separates the external and internal work a writer must move through when crafting a narrative.

Girl in pink stripes: I stand by my friend in green, always. My friend is strong, like me. We don’t need you, girl in the pink dress.
Girl in the hot pink: I wonder. Interesting. Something to watch. I’m not committing.

For extra credit: Compare the two pictures. Notice the positions of the girls. What does the change tell us? Picture books hold amazing craft.

I’m looking forward to beginning our journey next week! We will observe, name, and write about what we notice. Through this work, we will find our craft and create.