#SOL19 Day 28 Spark! Title Tales

For the month of March I will be participating in the Slice of Life Screen Shot 2019-03-02 at 5.28.56 PMChallenge sponsored by The Two Writing Teachers Blog. Each day I will be sharing a Quick Write as my way of slicing. The idea is to offer a SPARK that will kindle thinking and then write as quickly as you can for 5-10 minutes. No filters, no revisions. I’ve been curating a collection of Sparks and will share some with you all month. It’s a great way to ignite your writing life.

A title gives the reader a clue to the content and genre of a story and can often set the tone. Titles help the reader predict what the story may be about and are often labored over by authors and editors. We can help students appreciate the importance of a good title when we try some quick writes focusing on envisioning possible stories derived from them.

I’ve collected the titles from some middle grade novels to use as sparks. You can check those out HERE, and then begin to build your own collection of titles that could spark the imaginations of your writers. They may be familiar or rather obscure to you students, I don’t worry if they write from a title they know and spin off from the story or even retell some of a story based on the title. They are still thinking about the role of a title and how it can aid in comprehension and appreciation of a story.

Here’s my quick write. Can you tell which title inspired this 3 minutes of flash fiction? It’s one of the titles in this collection. Read it first and then check it out.

Title Tale


Could you guess before looking what the title might be? How about after? It could be fun to let students choose from a list and then invite others to guess. It could also be amusing to give everyone the same title and see how many different versions they come up with. Were they humorous? Adventurous? Suspenseful? You’ll begin to appreciate titles in a whole new way if you collect and quick write to them.


8 thoughts on “#SOL19 Day 28 Spark! Title Tales

  1. Next week I start daily poetry writing with my students, so I’m going to give them the list of titles to use for a poem. Is this title Ghost? And I want to know what the real story is. Ha!

  2. This will be a thoroughly engaging activity with my middle schoolers. And I will do the same with my third and fourth. Thank you for this! I think the title providing the inspiration may be Ghost?

  3. The Secret Garden? Did you know that the University of Chicago once asked students to invent the beginning of a story that could go with the title of Italo Calvino’s If On A Winter’s Night a Traveller? I loved seeing what my student wrote.

  4. I love this idea and your quick write response. I’d love to do this with my students! I bought your book and now that report cards and conferences are a thing of the past, I hope to dive into it soon. Even when I haven’t had time to comment, I’ve really enjoyed your posts this month! I also think maybe…The Night Gardener?

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