Posted by: nancyisanders | March 24, 2015

Challenge: Write a Chapter Book in One Month

This week as we’re wrapping up our early chapter book to submit to Kaeden Books, it’s time to write the Back Matter.

In our mentor text, THE RED FLYER ROLLER COASTER, there is one last page of text that is printed on the inside of the back cover. It has an Abbreviated Word List. It lists the Word Count. It also has three sets of discussion questions for a parent or educator to use. All of this is called Back Matter.

Does your mentor text have Back Matter? If so, this is the time to work on it.

If you are using the same book as I am and following along here on my blog, here is what you’ll need in the Back Matter you include with your manuscript:

1. Abbreviated Word List of 24 words in alphabetical order. If you know how to format columns within your document, you can put this in 6 columns. (If not, a single column is fine.)

2. Word Count: THE RED FLYER ROLLER COASTER has 2600 words so you want to make yours as close to that as possible.

3. Discussion questions:
Before Reading: 2-3 questions
During Reading: 3 questions
After Reading: 3 questions

Let me know if you have any questions about this!


  1. Well, I wasn’t able to get my hands on “The Red Flyer Roller Coaster” so I am trying to envision from what you write 🙂
    However, I have been looking into your class “Write a Middle Grade Novel”
    Do you have more info on how it works?
    I would really like to take it.
    Is it a solo class and I just work on it at my own pace?
    I see that you suggested a couple books, but it also says that you will assign two books.
    Is it the same two you mention (The Whipping Boy and Crispin)?
    I would like to order them prior to signing up for the class.
    Thank you for any info you can provide 🙂

    • Sorry it feels like it’s a little bit like walking in the dark, Kathy! If there’s something specific you just can’t quite get from my instructions here, let me know and I’ll be more specific.

      I’m glad you’re interested in “Write a Middle Grade Novel.” Yes, it’s a solo class and you work on it at your own pace. The 2 books we use as mentor texts are The Whipping Boy and Crispin. You can get them from the library but I really recommend you pick up a couple of really cheap used copies so you can write in them and use highlighters to mark them up, etc. Is there anything else you’d like to know?

  2. Thank you Nancy 🙂
    I guess my only real thought is what if I have questions along the journey? (and I am sure I will) 🙂 Can I/do I just shoot you an email when I do?
    Well, let me see if I can get my hands on the required materials.
    Hope to talk to you soon 🙂

    • Yes! You can e-mail me with questions. Sometimes it helps!

  3. Ugh!!!! See, I have a question already…lol
    I was going to order them off of amazon, but I see there are different print years? Does it matter which dated year I order? One of them ranges from 1987 to 2014 and has two totally different covers. Yikes! 🙂

    • It really doesn’t matter. The chapter numbers will be the same even if the page numbers are slightly different. The cheapest copy of each will do!

  4. Thank you Nancy 🙂

  5. Great posts, Nancy – quick question – if we’re writing 400-800 words would you suggest one before, during and after question in back matter?

    • The Red Flyer Roller coaster has 2 questions for “Before reading” and 3 for each of the others. So I just wrote 9 questions…3 for each. And glad to have you on board!

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