Thursday, April 19, 2012

A Notebook and A Pen: Encouraging Story-Writing in Young Children

I’m not tired!!! is a phrase often heard in our home. It is said with a stomp of a foot and a frown on the beautiful face. Little T the four-year-old fights her sleepiness and happily skips her afternoon nap.

Comfortably parked in a corner, she entertains herself with her words and makes up scenes and conversations with her toys. Her doll Dora the Explorer, a character she has never watched on TV, is the usual heroine who goes off on great adventures and says the funniest things.

Listening from afar, I too am entertained, and charmed, and awed.

A Mind At Work

Partly based on real life and fantasy, Little T’s stories show a mind at work - a mind taking in and figuring out the world she’s in. I wish to encourage her creativity and I wish to show her that her ideas are valued, that her words can be put into paper like the many books that she so loves.

One day, I took out a notebook and a pen,  and started scribbling down her words. How empowering for a child to see her thoughts cherished.

Whenever Little T and I sit down and "write", I let the following rules guide my conduct as her secretary:
  • Write fast - You are the author's secretary and have to capture the words as they were articulated... or they wouldn't be the author's words at all.          
  • Ignore grammar - Let the ideas flow and don’t let grammar stop your child from spinning a good yarn. As in all things given a chance to develop, grammar will improve.
  • Don’t question the logic - Don't question the story, period. It's your child's story, let it be her story.
  • Attribute the work to the author and illustrator - Remember to credit the author/illustrator by writing “Written and Illustrated by." It will tickle your child's fancy. 
  • Read it back - Once finished, read it together and be entertained, charmed, and awed by your child.

Make magic!

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Mariel @ The Learning Basket said...

I'm glad this post has inspired you Rachelle! :) 

Rachelle_consing said...

Mariel, I love this! I have to do this, my son's been telling me lots and lots of stories and I just listen! Never thought to  write it down. Now I will. :D Thanks!

Chatestela said...

Thanks for the post! For those of us who can't write fast enough, perhaps a recorder will be great too!

Mariel @ The Learning Basket said...

Oh, definitely! But make sure to write it down after :)