In my combined first and second grade, for about two weeks in mid-fall, the first graders met with me daily to create a story book. So, while making the book they were learning together and exploring more about story content which hopefully would be an aid while writing their own stories. This book was kept secret from the second graders. They ignored or pretended to ignore what was happening. After all, each had created a book of his own the previous year.
Children voted for the characters, what their attributes were, and where it would take place. I also offered suggestions but mostly asked questions. Volunteers dictated the sentences for the introduction. This was usually composed quite easily.
The plot and theme were more difficult. Again I asked lots of questions and offered some suggestions. Certainly their ideas predominated, especially with the details. There was a time of rejection and acceptance until they agreed, with a good idea for a plot. It was rare in the fall that first graders could suggest the theme. Finally they would agree upon one from several I had offered.
Upon completing the conclusion different children were called upon to dictate sentences. Throughout the process, they were shown my notes and writing which were the first, second, third, etc. drafts until we had the whole thing dictated. Then a few children would offer some morals. Throughout all, the process and purpose of how to write a story was explained, and sometimes compared with professional authors.
After I typed the story, I would cut the pages into the number of sections that equaled the number of children, with each one pasted at the bottom of a blank page. Then each child was given a five by six inch piece of blank paper to make a picture with a black marker. (It was not a good idea for children to draw directly on a page because I’d hear, “Oops, I goofed.”) The picture was pasted above the typing with their name under it. The story title for the cover and the authors’ names were written on a cover and volunteers decorated it. After it was sent to the district printing department, it was returned with two copies for each first grader and one copy for every second grader with extras for the Book Center.
Finally the afternoon arrived when the books were passed out, and after practicing with each other, the proud first graders read the story to the second graders. Second graders were a great audience and contributed fine comments and asked good questions.
Read more about early reading and writing programs in my book, Early Childhood Programs: Opportunities for Academic, Cognitive, and Personal Success. Included is a web site where programs and activities can be downloaded for use in a classroom. Also, see 7 reviews on www.amazon.com
Teaching Young Children © Peggy Broadbent 2011 - All Rights Reserved