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Do you have little story tellers in your family? When my daughter was little, she loved to tell stories and enjoyed make believe, dressing up in costumes, and creating stories with her stuffed animals. I wanted to find a way that she could do that, with a simple book making activity.
She was just learning what written words meant, and loved following along during our story times, but she was not yet ready to put the words on the page herself. She enjoyed describing her artwork to me, and loved it when I wrote her words for her, on the paper.
As a writer of children's stories myself, I wanted to go to the next step. I decided to try some very simple bookmaking with her, to allow her to dictate a story to me, and create a small book, where she was the author. While making these little books, my daughter could make up short stories, and see them become a book.
To do this project, all it took was one piece of construction paper, and some crayons! With that, my daughter made many simple books, full of three part stories...each with a beginning, middle and an ending. She was learning the components of a story just by making them.
This simple booking activity can be done with any age child, one helping the other, or with each making their very own book.
This format can be helpful for older writers, too, if they want to do some creative writing ,and don't want to face a blank page.
The Art of Simple Book Making
Part 1 - Setting up the pages.
To start, just fold one piece of construction paper in half. Folding the paper, you will then have spaces for page 1 and page 2....
Then the back of page 2....becomes page 3, and that is all that is needed for a three part story! We always wrote 'The End" on the last page, which my daughter could do with help.
With this simple format, I taught my daughter to create simple stories, with a beginning, a middle and an end, while learning early literacy skills.
Part 2 - Helping your child Create their Story
The trick is to ask open ended questions.
This is how we approached it:
1. Ask your child to draw something on the top half of page 1. .....Anything.
2. Ask open ended questions about the drawing, to get her to talk about her picture.
3. Write the words for your child, or turn it into copywork, depending on their skill level. The important thing is that they are using their own words.
Page 2. Ask "What's next?"
Page 2 will be the middle of the story. Just ask your child..."What happens next?"
Give a suggestion or two to get her started...Then have them draw again.... to illustrate their words. Now it's time to end the story.
Page 3 - The Ending
Next, turn to the back page, (the other side of page 2) & ask:
"What would happen next?" or "How does your story end?" This usually takes some discussion. Then add their words to the page, ask for another picture, and have your child write "the end" below it.
The Title Page
Now, here's my daughter's favorite part....Have your child write their name, as the author and also for the illustrator. What better way to learn what author and illustrator means!
My little one loved making these books so much that she wanted to do it again, and again, and meanwhile, she was learning......
Early Literary Skills
What I like about this activity is that my daughter was learning early literacy skills, hands-on. Here are some of them. She was learning:
1. The components of a book, including about the title page, with places for the author and illustrator.
2. That stories are made up of three parts, the beginning, middle and end, and what theses three parts mean.
3. That written words have a purpose, as they see their story come to life.
And they also learn that their own words are important. The confidence that my daughter built by making these simple books was priceless.
There was nothing more precious than reading my preschooler's story aloud, while she carefully turned the pages, showing grandma and granddad, etc, her own words. I later did this project as a part of the preschool classes that I taught, calling it "The Little Writer's Club."
What do you like to do to get your kids writing? Please share in the comments. Feel free to share about your storymaking activities on my facebook page, if you like. Who knows...you may have a budding author in your midst!
Thanks for stopping by our neck of woods,
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