Writing Lessons from Literature Book 1: Heidi, by Johanna Spyri

Do you have a daughter who loves to read and write stories? If you do, here is something I think you’ll both appreciate. It’s a resource you can use for reading comprehension, for a book club, or for writing lessons.

For years I have thought that a wonderful way to teach writing would be to help students study and analyze the actual writings of accomplished authors. It’s how musicians learn to compose music (at least back in the day when I was studying music theory and composition.) We’d study the music of the great composers by analyzing the chord progressions and melodies, taking note of the structures of the compositions, investigating the composers’ use of instrumentation, and so on. And then we’d try to imitate their style in our own compositions.

I have looked and looked for a similar approach to teaching writing. However, I have not been able to find exactly what I was searching for. So last year my college-age daughter and I wrote Writing Lessons from Literature for my youngest daughter. They include the following:

  • reading comprehension questions
  • vocabulary words used by the author to memorize
  • discussion questions to help students think about the themes and literary devices used by the author
  • careful analyses of passages from the book that exemplify specific grammatical lessons or writing techniques
  • and writing assignments that give students an opportunity to put those lessons to practice
  • continual reinforcement and practice of previously learned material

Last year we wrote a series of Writing Lessons from Literature based on three novels. Each one offers nine weeks of writing lessons and are suitable for children in grades 4-6. The first one is based on the classic novel, Heidi, by Johanna Spyri.

Here’s the first chapter:

When we first began the book, my youngest daughter was not very keen on it because she thought Heidi would be boring. But by the end of the writing lessons, she had developed a great appreciation for the novel.

Whether you use these lessons just for reading comprehension, for a book club, or as writing lessons, I hope your kids learn, above all, to appreciate the novel.

Download Writing Lessons for Literature, Book 1 – Heidi below. Yes, it’s free, because I love helping out other homeschooling moms. Your work as a mother and teacher is incredibly valuable!

Note: An answer key for the reading comprehension questions is included.

There are two more Writing Lessons from Literature books in the series coming this summer! The second one is based on A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett. The third uses Clara of Strawberry Fields by my talented daughter, Carolyn Cooney. All three Writing Lessons from Literature books make up one year’s worth of writing lessons.

Want to know as soon as the next book comes out? Subscribe here:

4 thoughts on “Writing Lessons from Literature Book 1: Heidi, by Johanna Spyri

  1. I can’t thank you enough for all of the beautiful resources you provide for FREE on your site. We use them frequently in our homeschool. Thanks so much and may God bless you!


  2. Thank you for doing this! We are starting Heidi tomorrow! We are new to IEW, although I took the TWSS in the spring. My son (4th grade) will be doing ATF&F. My 6th grader with very limited writing experience will do this!


    1. You are so welcome! We love IEW and I’ve used ATF&F with most of my kids. I hope your 6th grader enjoys the Heidi writing lessons!


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