Recently I have been working with a 5-year old girl to help improve her reading comprehension. To help strengthen her reading, we do various reading exercises and worksheets so that she can practice sounding out letters. However, last week, I noticed that she was becoming restless as we were doing an exercise from a phonics workbook.
I decided to change things up for her and asked her “Do you want to create your own story?” She replied, “Yeah!” (Then again, I’m sure any child would want to make their own story any day over doing worksheets.) I immediately observed how her engagement dramatically increased, and suddenly she had so much energy.
We started brainstorming ideas for her story and used her coloring books as inspiration for the characters. She ultimately decided on having Mickey Mouse and Hello Kitty be the main characters of her story. Since she didn’t have a coloring page of Mickey Mouse, I drew a picture of him which she colored. Afterwards she colored her drawings of Hello Kitty. We then pasted the images of the characters onto another page so she could draw a unique background for the characters. Once the background was complete, we started writing the actual story!
Since she was still struggling with writing words, I simply asked her to tell me her story idea while I wrote it on the paper. As she started telling the story, she came up with this hilarious story of how Mickey and Hello Kitty celebrated Halloween together even though we were only in April. After I finished writing the story, we made the illustrations for the other pages and stapled the pages together. Here was the result of our hard work!
Page 3 Then the four friends went to the spooky house and hand their spooky dinner. They saw many scary ghosts and scary skeletons and witches. They continued to eat. Mickey then saw his friend Sally. After they ate some more, they all went back home. Stella said, “That spooky dinner was fun. Lets do that again next year!”
The best part about making a story with my student was the moment the book was finished! My student was amazed at how much she could accomplished if she worked well with someone else. Also, once the story was completed, she was continuously asking me how to read the words in the story because it was her own story instead of a book or a worksheet made by a random person.
Ultimately, we reread the story together and she was able to learn how to read some new words. Also, we were able to practice several grammar and punctuation concepts. She also exercised her creativity by thinking of the story’s plot. There’s definitely something magical when you ask a child to tell you a story. And all it took to create the story were a few pieces of construction paper, crayons, coloring pages and a stapler.