June 14, 2014

Lines that Wiggle

Title: Lines that Wiggle
Candace Whitman (Author)
Steve Wilson (Illustrator)

Comprehension Strategy: Synthesizing
Art Modality: Creative Movement

Here's the gist of this monstrously fun book written by Candace Whitman. Through the book runs a line of rhyming text that reads with a steady beat. A glittery purple line that wiggles, bends, curves, and curls also runs through the book. The illustrator, Steve Wilson, tops the book off with creepy and creepy and creative creatures. Sound inviting? You and your little ones won't be able to take your hands off of it!

Materials: Lines that Wiggle
streamers, colorful scarves or fabric ribbons
painter's masking tape

Lines that Wiggle is a great book for teaching rhyming and for teaching lines in art. But after moving my finger along the glittery purple line that runs through this picture book, I wanted to move more! I can say with a giggle, Lines that Wiggle is a great book for teaching movement, too!

For a sneak peek inside, visit the publisher's site here.

I have three suggestions for using the book to help little learners discover how their own bodies are "lines that can wiggle" through the space around them.

Wiggle Number One:
Simply stop after you read each page. Ask the children to explore how they can make their own bodies wiggle like the line on that page. Can they move just their arms like the line? How about just their legs? Can they move their feet to make an imaginary line on the floor that looks like the line on the page?

Wiggle Number Two:
Provide your listeners with lengths of ribbon or scarves. Again stop after you read each page. Encourage the youngsters to make matching lines with their ribbons on the floor. Can they make the same lines in the air with their ribbons?

Wiggle Number Three:
If you have the space, use painter's masking tape to create all kinds of lines on the floor—wavy, straight, curvy, crisscrossed and more! Encourage the children to move along the lines. How would you move on lines that scurry? How would you move on lines that twist? How would you move on lines that sway? Of course, adding music makes the movement more fun.

So what  does this book have to do with reading and how does it lead to a better understanding of synthesis?! Well, remember that line that runs through the whole book? It changes and represents different things, but it's always there.  

When you read you constantly gain information and so your thinking changes. Every new piece of information changes your understanding and helps you make meaning. In the end, you put it all together to make big conclusions.

When explaining your thinking about this book to your students, you might say, "At first I thought the line would be a snake and then I thought it would be a bridge. Then I saw that the line could be whiskers or even waves. At the end of the book, I realized that lines can change. When lines change they can remind me of different things."

Synthesis combines new information with old information to create new meaning. Your thinking out loud might sound like this, "At first I just looked at the line, but then I looked at the other art around it. When I looked at everything, my thinking changed. The head at the end of this line, made the curvy line a snake."

You can use this book conversation to start your little readers on a path to understanding how to synthesize, or you can use the book with older readers as a simple reminder of how synthesizing works.


  1. I am in love with this book. What a wonderful idea to intro line . . . you're ideas are super savvy too! Pinned for next year :) Thanks for sharing!!!

  2. Well, hello Jayne. Nice to find you, your blog, and this book. Great ideas are here. My husband is an illustrator and has influenced how I teach in ways like these. I'll spend more time cruising around the site later– I'm your newest follower. One way to extend your ideas with this particular book would be to take them outside and use rope, jump ropes, string or yarn (might work on carpeting inside, as well.) It would be easy to do and easy to clean up, too. Thanks for the post.
    Kidpeople Classroom

  3. I want and need that book...looks like a fun one!

  4. Thanks so much for sharing this! I have never heard of it but am looking forward to using it with my kinders next year :)

    Mrs. Masters’ Kinder Love

  5. This is a very amazing page.


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