Story Writing Machine
If your sprog is progressing in their reading, you may like this simple activity for helping them to write a short story. There are many ways to do just that but this is fun and productive and will help to make some important distinctions about written English.
My daughter is certainly progressing with her reading, but writing a story is a couple of steps ahead of her. Of course it is. Reading tricky words is one thing, but when writing we must think about spelling, writing conventions (capitals, punctuation) and handwriting. As she can already write simple stories in Japanese (the simplest alphabet of), my daughter is used to writing without spaces between words. IfyoutrythatinEnglishitbecomesquitedifficulttoread. I know that she is aware of the spaces between words in written English because she can distinguish between words when reading, but such knowledge needs a little push to transfer it to writing. The same could be said of capitals and full stops (periods).
With these points in mind, and after trying very hard to read a little story she wrote for me the other day but failing badly, I tried to think of a way to help her get used to writing stories in English and have a little fun at the same time. With a little help from my daughter I created the writing machine. All you need is the print, a dice and a pencil. Download the print here:story writing machine
Using the `Once upon a time’ beginning, select a character from the word boxes as the main character for the story. Write that first line in the first line of the writing space below. Now use the dice to choose the next line and fill in the blanks with items from the word boxes. Repeat.
If, like my daughter, your child is a beginner writer then I think that writing one sentence per line is fine. Just remember to have them use a capital letter at the beginning, leave spaces between words and put a full stop at the end. If they are already familiar with the written form of another language you could let them use the space after one sentence to write the first few words of the next.
Of course the story isn’t going to be that amazing. However, if used properly this print can give them a better idea of how to write in English and also give them a few stock phrases for later use. It is also a good reading practice tool when you have finished. Did you try it? Did it work for you? Let me know.
Notes from the next day:
Here are two photos comparing the ‘before and after writing machine’. Obviously it didn’t make her perfect in one go, but she did get the hang of capitals and full stops and made a good effort at spacing. Little steps, little steps.