Let’s have some fun with creative writing this week. For the youngest, it can be creative storytelling as a team. The main point, as always, is to have fun and develop a love of words in your child. Some of you have asked about literary magazines for kids. I’ve included info and links at the end of each section.
Pre-K Crowd: How about making up a story with your youngest? A really good way to do that is to use pictures of people and places that are familiar to your child. You can arrange the pictures in order to the story you tell. You can tell a different story each time. If your child is old enough, he/she can join in with the storytelling. Otherwise, you make up the story and ask your child to touch the picture that goes with what you’re saying.
Also, this age group is just so much fun. You can get a really young child to love words and books by just spending time with them with books. They want to be with you and will learn to associate the activity of reading with fun through that contact. Two terrific magazines are Babybug and Highlights Hello. They are designed to foster a love of words in children from 0-2. Take some time to check them out. If your children are between 2-5, take a look at Ladybug and High Five. All of these magazines include tips for parents with each issue.
Grades K-1: These kids are totally into creative storytelling. When we make up group stories in KidWrite, we need to specify that there is no gore, guts, or puke allowed. Why? Because those are easy. We want a story that is different. Depending upon how into writing your child is after a day of school, you might want to make up stories together and either not write them down, or you act as the scribe and write them down. The trick to that is having your child check to be sure you got it right! With my KidWrite kids, stories about space travel, invisible dogs, and kids with gum stuck to their shoes are sure hits. The point is not that the content has to be lofty. If you can make up a story that makes your child laugh, that’s all the better. Remember to have a beginning, a middle, and an end.
Two good magazines for this age are Ladybug (3-6) and High Five (2-6). There are tips for parents with each issue. They’re well written, with engaging content and a lot of color. Take some time to check them out.
2nd Grade: One second grader I know announced that he’s done with school for the year. His head is already full. I suggested he write some of it down so he can clear some brain space, but he didn’t go for that. Maybe a good creative story for this age would be about a boy or girl who has too much in his/her brain and needs to decide how to organize it for easy retrieval. Better yet, how about a story about a dog named Fred. This is no ordinary dog. Our friend Fred only likes to ??? You decide. Fred isn’t doing it? How about a story about a giraffe named Sidney. Sidney’s problem? Brainstorm with your child and then let him/her take it from there. Help your child to imagine the story he/she would love to read.
Grades 3-5: This group can definitely make up a story. To keep it interesting, challenge your child to write a story that is two or three pages long (you know how large your child’s handwriting is). Tell your child the story needs to be in a genre–science fiction, mystery, thriller, or fantasy. It has to include one animal of any sort, one location, and one problem that must be solved. It also has to make sense! You can also tell our child this is a chance to write a series. Over the next few weeks we’ll be talking about developing characters, story arcs, settings, editing our work … All the things they need to know to write “real” stories!