Character Beach Towel: Reading Response Exercise #95


Read for at least twenty to thirty minutes.


Think about what you have read. What is the main character of your story like? What are his likes and dislikes? What are his favorite activities, things?

Suppose the main character of your story finally got a break from all that’s stressing her and she’s headed off to the beach, taking the brand new beach towel someone who knows and loves her well just gave her.


Design, draw including graphics and color, or describe your main character’s great new beach towel. Why is it so perfect for him or her?


Share your responses and explanations with your reading partners.

Post your pictures or descriptions here on the blog. Remember to include the title and author of your book so another reader can give it a try.


It Happened When I was Out Running Errands: Fiction Play With Your Words Writing Prompt #70

I ran errands all afternoon yesterday. I went to a bookstore, a big box store, an office supply store (I love anything related to paper), a restaurant, and a grocery story. I bought: a new Laurie King novel, a cake plate for a wedding gift, a weekly planner, lunch, and groceries (lots of fruits and veggies and some dark chocolate, chocolate chips).


Dream up a character that has to run some errands. Think of at least four places he or she might need to go. Get out a piece of paper and list your four destinations at the top. On the top half of the paper, underneath each destination, brainstorm the kinds of things that could be purchased at that store. On the lower half of the paper, underneath each destination, list the kinds of people or incidents your character could encounter at each location. Go wild. An incident can be as sweet as bumping into your Great Aunt Angie, discovering her cat is missing, and agreeing to come over to her house and help her find it or as wild as blue-eyed zombies addicted to red licorice raiding all the stores in town in search for more.

Once you have filled your brainstorm paper with intriguing possibilities, choose one item each from at least three columns and use these three ideas to inspire a story.


Write your story. Remember to hook your reader by having your main character encounter something puzzling or challenging at the beginning of the story. Include conflict, dialogue, and action. Build the story to a crisis point where a decision must be made or action taken that brings about some sort of resolution—be it good or bad, tragic or sublime, and establish a new normal for your character at the end.

Edit and revise as needed.


When done, read what you’ve written with your writing partners. Compliment one another on the effectiveness of the dialogue and conflict, and the vividness of the settings and scenes.  Share your story as a comment. Though I returned safely from my trek all over town, I am curious to learn what fate befell you characters.

Color-Coded Theme: Reading Response Exercise #94


Read for at least twenty to thirty minutes.


Think about what you have read. What message about life and how it is to be lived it is being communicated in your reading material?


  • Write this message as a succinct thesis statement. For example: ______ (title of your book or novel) by _______ (author ) demonstrates (or shows) that life ….
  • If this message were a color, what color would it be? Explain your reasoning.
  • Share your responses with your reading partners or right here as a comment.

Enjoy your summer reading!

Defend Your Favorite Comic or Graphic Novel: Play With Your Words Writing Prompt #69

What is your favorite comic strip or graphic novel?


Web-storm your favorite comics or graphic novels in order to gather and organize the information you will want to use when you begin writing.  Create a bubble for each comic/novel you like, writing its title in the center.

For each comic/novel bubble, add rays extending from the bubble and write one reason you like that particular comic/novel on each ray.

Read over the options you have provided for yourself, and select the comic/novel you would most like to write about.


Write a letter to a relative or teacher who perhaps does not value the reading of comics or graphic novels explaining:

  • what your favorite comic/graphic novel is
  • why you like it
  • why he or she should reconsider her judgment of the genre.

Remember to proof-read and revise your letter after you finish the rough draft.


When done, read what you’ve written with your writing partners or share here as a comment. Compliment one another on:

  • how well each writer has explained what it is he likes about her chosen subject
  • how clearly she has expressed herself
  • and the use of specific details.

Then kick back and enjoy the kind of reading material you like.

Crazy Summer

This has been a crazy summer for my family and me. We are working through some major transitions in our lives, needing to spend much time in research, deal with accumulated things, and make new decisions.

The process feels like it has taken over my life. There is so much I need to do that has to wait while we deal with more important matters. It seems like there is always more work than there is time.

For this reason, I am planning to take Wednesdays off until Fall. Some weeks you may see a Wednesday post—when inspiration strikes and I can carve out a few minutes for you, my literate friends.

Do not fear, however. New writing prompts and reading reflections will continue be posted Mondays and Fridays. They provide good practice for skills our kids left behind in the classroom in June.

So, enjoy this season of freedom and cherish the time you and your family have this summer to read, write, and pursue literate lives.

Test that Title: Reading Response Exercise #93


Read for at least twenty to thirty minutes.


Think about what you have read.

  • What is the title of the book you are reading?
  • Do the plot, characters, and themes of the story seem to go well with its title?
  • Why or why not?


Share your responses with your reading partners or here on the blog. If you like your book, share the title and author with your fellow readers. Someone might just be looking for a good read for a summer’s afternoon.

A Day in the Life…Narrative Play With Your Words Writing Prompt #68


Think of a possession you have with you every day. It could be a pair of shoes, your glasses, a hat, a piece of jewelry, or any other item you carry around all the time—maybe your keys or your cell phone…

  • Choose one item that you think could tell a good story.
  • List the things you do when this possession is with you.


Write a story, from the point-of-view of your chosen possession. Let your item tell the story of a day in your life, not from the way you experience it, but from the way the object experiences it.


  • Does it like you? Is it on your side?
  • Does it feel used by you?
  • Is it lazy or eager to play a role in your life?
  • How does it feel when you use it?
  • Does it think you have your act together?
  • Does it think it could manage your life much better than you do?

Think of some questions of your own and use them to craft and interesting day in the life of your possession.


When done, read what you’ve written with your writing partners or share here as a comment. Compliment one another on how well you stick to the single point-of-view. No thoughts or feelings of anyone or anything else should be included in the story unless they have been told to your possession. Consider, have you created a story with a beginning, conflict, and an ending? Does your chosen object have its own distinctive style?

Let yourself have fun with this prompt. Happy Writing!

Similar Situations: Reading Response Exercise #92


Read for at least twenty to thirty minutes.


Think about what you have read. Answer the following questions:

  • Have you ever been in a situation like that being experienced by the main character of your story?
  • What was the situation?
  • How did you feel?
  • What did you do in response?

Considering your own experiences, how would you advise the character in your story to respond to the situation you last encountered him or her in?


Write down the advice you would give your main character. Are there any special warnings he or she might need, or any recommendations about how to apply your advice? Share your responses with your reading partners or post them here to the blog.

Summer is a great time for reading, so if you share your response as a comment, please include the title of the book you are reading and the author’s name. I, or any of the Literate Live’s followers, might just want to hunt that book down and read it ourselves based on your sharing.

Happy thinking and reading!

Warning!!! Play With Your Words Poetry Prompt #24

There’s a heat wave holding the U.S. in its sweaty grip. The news is full of tips for staying healthy and hydrated.

The Fourth of July was a fun celebration of our freedom and who we are as a country, but the usual mishaps with fireworks also peppered the news coverage.

And then there’s the usual precautions about wearing sunscreen, swimming and boating safely, and avoiding food poisoning while on picnics.

Yet it’s summer, you say, the time for being laid back and having fun.

Yes indeed it is.

Write a poem that both honors the spirit of summer and includes a health or safety warning. Have fun with it.

When you are done, share it with your writing partners or here on the blog as a comment.

If you’d like, make a poster and upload it. I’ll make sure it appears here on the blog as well as on my Pinterest board.

Who knows? You may be creating a catchy public service announcement.

The Fourth of July

Happy Fourth of July, the birthday of our country! I hope you will be fortunate enough to celebrate our freedom with your family and friends as I plan to do. We’ll be barbecuing, and enjoying fireworks and each other.

One of my favorite things to do when watching fireworks is to name each type of explosion. In my world of fireworks, there are Dandelion Heads, Shooting Stars, Chrysanthemums, and Popcorn.

After enjoying the holiday, please share here as a comment the names you came up with for your fireworks, so we can all close our eyes and enjoy just a few more brilliant light show in our minds.