The Alphabet Tree

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The Alphabet Tree

The Alphabet Tree by Leo Lionni provides a nice analogy of the writing process.

The story begins with the letters living individually on the top most leaves of a tree. Similarly, when you begin to learn the alphabet code you need to understand the code represented by each individual letters.  However, by themselves these letters are meaningless.

Next, a word bug teaches them how to join together to form words. The letters make lots of different words without understanding their connection to each.

Next a caterpillar crawls onto the tree and suggests that they work together to make sentences and mean something. The letters had never thought about this, but now they could really say things. They could say things about the wind, the leaves and the bugs.

The caterpillar then announces that although their efforts were good, they weren’t good enough.  “Why?” ask the letters in surprise. “Because you must say something important,” responds the caterpillar.

The letters think and plan and create a message of peace. Yet, this in itself is still not good enough because what is the good of saying something important if no-one else reads the message?

The caterpillar subsequently helps the letters deliver their message to the president.

Use the story to help your children understand the stage of writing development they have mastered and why it’s important to move to the next level until they can write coherent powerful messages.

To listen to the story being read, go to:

Another story with a similar message is TJ’s Code