WOW Stories Volume X, Issue 2

Volume X, Issue 2
Introduction and Editor’s Note

In this issue of WOW Stories: Connections from the Classroom, we feature voices of elementary teachers as they share their experiences implementing an Out-of-School Time Program called Story Explorations. We are the creators of Story Explorations and we also observe teachers and students as they engage in the activities embedded in the Explorations.

Our work began in the summer of 2021 with an idea for creating an Out-of-School Time literacy program for intermediate grade students. To open this issue, Marlene Flores describes our holistic planning process in her article “From Ideas to Implementation.” She also shares how we connect picturebooks to hands-on literacy and STEM activities that pique students’ curiosity and foster their creative thinking while building their comprehension strategies. Marlene’s article includes titles from the Story Explorations text sets that WOW readers can check out on their own.

Three classroom teachers contribute vignettes to this issue in which they share their experiences of implementing Story Explorations in their respective Out-of-School Time Programs. In the first vignette, “Reading and Responding to Juan and the Pinto Bean Stalk,” Monica Escobedo shares how students in her program planned tableaux and applied soundscapes (Leland et al., 2017) to Juan and the Pinto Bean Stalk (Marcantonio, 2005) a fairytale variant of Jack and the Beanstalk (Kellogg, 1997). Escobedo states that she has “never seen so much enthusiasm for reading” among the students.

In her vignette, “Let’s Make a Deal: Bartering Like Juan,” Carmen Rodriguez shares how students learned to barter like Juan, the main character in Juan and the Pinto Bean Stalk (Marcantonio, 2005), through a modified version of the gameshow Let’s Make a Deal. Rodriguez’s activity culminated with students taking their new bartering skills outside of the classroom to barter with family members. WOW readers can read Rodriguez’s vignette to find out what students ended up with at the end of the activity.

In the final vignette, “A Story Exploration at North Valley Elementary School,” Sylvia Najera highlights literacy and STEM activities connected to Red Ridin’ In the Hood (Marcantonio, 2005), a fairytale variant of the classic fairytale, Little Red Riding Hood (Pickney, 2007). The students in Najera’s program designed pieces for a game called Loteria, and created a hydraulic system found in Lowrider vehicles. Najera details how these activities engaged students’ family members in meaningful ways.

As the creators of Out-of-School Time Story Explorations Programs, we didn’t expect such an overwhelmingly positive response from teachers, students, and families. We hope WOW readers will connect with and enjoy reading these vignettes. We also hope these vignettes will inspire readers to check out the text sets and create their own story exploration activities for students in their classrooms. We invite readers who create these experiences to write about them and then submit their own vignette to WOW Stories. We would enjoy reading these vignettes!

Mary Fahrenbruck and Marlene Flores, Guest Co-Editors

Children’s Literature Cited

Kellogg, S. (1997). Jack and the beanstalk. HarperCollins.

Marcantonio, P. S. (2005). Juan and the pinto bean stalk (illus. by R. Alarcão). In P. S. Marcantonio, Red ridin’ in the hood and other cuentos, pp. 63-89. Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Marcantonio, P. S. (2005). Red ridin’ in the hood (illus. by R. Alarcão). In P. S. Marcantonio, Red ridin’ in the hood and other cuentos, pp. 21-30. Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Pinkney, J. (2007). Little Red Riding Hood. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.


Leland, C., Lewison, M., & Harste, J. (2017). Teaching children’s literature: It’s critical! (2nd ed.) Routledge.

Authors retain copyright over the vignettes published in this journal and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under the following Creative Commons License:

Creative Commons License

WOW Stories, Volume X, Issue 2 by Worlds of Words is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Based on work by Mary Fahrenbruck and Marlene Flores at

WOW stories: connections from the classroom
ISSN 2577-0551

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