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Teaching Fantasy Writing

Teaching Fantasy Writing
Lessons That Inspire Student Engagement and Creativity, Grades K-6

Foreword by Matt Glover

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July 2024 | 272 pages | Corwin

Teaching fantasy writing increases student engagement, enables them to flex their creative muscles – and helps them learn important narrative writing skills.

Opportunities for kids to lean into their innate creativity and imagination have been squeezed out of most school days, due to the pressures of standardized testing. And writing instruction has become more and more formulaic. In Teaching Fantasy Writing, Carl Anderson shows you how to include a study of fantasy writing in your writing curriculum that will engage student interest and creativity -- and make writing exciting for them again.

Teaching Fantasy Writing is a game-changer. The fantasy genre gives children tools for expression that other genres don’t, providing them with a powerful way to work through challenging issues and emotions. And it also offers students the opportunity to address subjects such as gaining confidence in oneself, bullying, fighting injustice – and more.

Plus, fantasy writing helps kids learn the skills necessary to meet narrative writing standards. And they’ll have fun doing it!

If you’re an elementary school teacher who wants to help your students develop their writing skills by studying a high-interest, high-impact genre, you’ve come to the right place. In Teaching Fantasy Writing, Carl Anderson will:

  • Discuss why fantasy writing develops students’ creativity, increases their engagement in writing, and accelerates their growth as writers
  • Walk you through fantasy units for students in grades K-1, 2-3, and 4-6, which include detailed lessons you can teach to help students write beautiful and powerful fantasy stories
  • Suggest mentor texts that will show students how to craft their fantasy stories.
  • Show you examples of students’ fantasy writing, including the “worldbuilding” work they do before writing drafts
  • Explain how you can modify the units and lessons to fit the needs of the students in your classroom

By teaching fantasy writing, you can reignite the spark of creativity in your students and increase their joy in writing. Imagine the possibilities!

Foreword by Matthew Glover
Chapter 1: Why Fantasy?
Chapter 2: An Overview of Fantasy Units of Study
Chapter 3: Introduction to Fantasy (Grades K-1)
Chapter 4: Magical Relationships (Grades 2-3)
Chapter 5: Magical Worlds (Grades 4-6)
Appendix A: Q&A
Appendix B: Assessment in a Fantasy Unit of Study
Appendix C: A How-To Guide for Revising a Unit of Study


This comprehensive guide brilliantly unlocks the magic of storytelling for young minds. From crafting the first idea of a fantasy story to illustrating magical worlds, the book serves as an essential tool for budding writers and artists. Its engaging lessons on character creation, plot development, and incorporating magic into narratives not only inspire creativity but also foster a love for writing and illustration. A must-have for educators and students alike.

Helen H. Wu
Author of Long Goes to Dragon School and Tofu Takes Time

The genre of fantasy has the power and potential to inspire young writers, engaging and inviting them into the world of storytelling by tapping into their vast imaginations and love of make-believe. Carl's book provides a navigable and welcome roadmap for teachers who want to offer students fantasy writing experiences, but need structure, guidance, and resources. Teachers will love the lessons, and students will love the portals into their own worlds and creations of fantasy.

Melanie Meehan
Writing Coordinator, Author, and Consultant

Students will love Carl’s book for the opportunity to create their own rich worlds. My students thrived developing characters, maps, creatures, alliances, and conflicts. Carl’s book is a much-needed breath of fresh narrative air for both elementary writers and teachers.

Tim Saunders
Elementary Educator

I had the good fortune of hosting Carl several times over the past couple of years as he piloted this work in my classroom and was amazed at how much writing students were doing, the high levels of student engagement, and the elevated quality of their writing. This book is a powerful elixir that will vanquish disengagement and ignite a love of writing within some of your most reluctant writers. And it’s grab-and-go, with units, mini-lessons, mentor texts, charts, student samples, and more.

Ryan Scala
5th Grade Teacher, Springs School, East Hampton, NY

I was always fearful of teaching fantasy writing, but Carl Anderson has completely changed my views. Fantasy is now my favorite genre to teach, and my writers will agree.  Children are eager to write fantasy stories and this book provides teachers with all the tools they’ll need to bring these units to life. 

Emily Callahan

Teaching Fantasy Writing brims with strategies, lessons, mentor texts, and think-alouds designed to captivate and empower student writers. Reading this book is like having a mentor teacher to guide you through a genre that many teachers may not even consider yet is adored by so many students. 

Kayla Briseño
Co-author of Text Structures from Picture Books

Behold, Carl’s magic key for teaching what our students crave: Fantasy writing. With effective, step-by-step lessons for multiple subgenres, you can follow the “Yellow Brick Road” or revise to fit the needs of your students—even learn to write and illustrate your fantasy story alongside them. Carl is my Merlin in all things Fantasy; let him become yours, too!

Katherine Bomer
Writing Consultant, K-12 and Author of The Journey is Everything: Teaching Essays that Students Want to Write for People Who Want to Read Them

For too long, writing fantasy in grades K-6 school has been relegated to the fringes. This book is the perfectly blended concoction of scholarship, inspiration and practical resources that will allow fantasy to take its rightful place as a powerful driver of imagination, engagement, craft, and vocabulary growth. Teaching Fantasy Writing is the enchanted gift given by a magical creature (Carl) to a weary mage (you) in need of joy, light, and triumph. If you choose to accept it, be prepared for your instruction and students’ writing to transform in ways you could never imagine!

M. Colleen Cruz
Educator and bestselling author of Writers Read Better: Nonfiction

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ISBN: 9781071910320