** prep required!**
Prep - grab a box or bag and throw in some random items or cut some pictures out of a magazine.
Explore the items in the bag.
or... as I did.... while you listen to one child read give the other a bag and ask them to walk around the house looking for 10 interesting little things and to put them in the bag.
Ask questions if you think your child will need prompting or create a scenario. eg -
These items were found inside a strange bag at the beach. Who do you think they belong to. Tell me the story of how they got there. And sorry I know how much you want to read me your school story but you aren't allowed to do that tonight I need you to tell me this story instead - so sorry about that!
As they tell the story type or write it out for them. Try to resist the urge to correct their grammar - the odd correct it okay but the flow of the story and their feeling of being an interesting story teller is much more important!
Now let them decorate the story or draw a picture to go with. This is now their reading for the evening. Get them to read to parent 2 (if available) or skype a willing grandparent or friend and get them to read it.
For someone like Bounce he may end up with a story he can't actually read because his vocab is quite rich - for him I could give him a list of his sight words and fewer props and let him tell his story using the sight words and the props as his prompts. We'd also make the whole story shorter. If he is really loving it there is nothing to stop him giving me a new 'chapter' each night.
This kind of story telling is great for developing creative thinking and teaching the elements of narrative writing in a natural way. They will also attack the reading of it with more confidence because they already know where the story is heading and they have chosen the words. Yes some words they may still need to sound out but they will remember them so they go in feeling like they 'have a chance' rather than overwhelmed.
** as a side note - when you praise their story make it specific - 'I love how you describe the strange tree monkey I could really imagine him', rather than 'good story'. The first is actually articulating a skill they have in a way they can then reapply it at a later learning/writing opportunity. (That is, you are teaching them about the importance of character description, using their own work - yay you! You are so amazing you ought to be given an award!)
Take the story to school tomorrow and share with a teacher or the class.
If you have more than one child do this with a different child each night. Start with the one you feel will be most confident (it might not be the oldest!) the others will learn as they pretend not to watch!
Learning Together a series for primary aged children and their parents - activities that break up homework monotony, promote skills and create positive experiences together.
love you more than a strange prop and a creative solution xxx