DIY Action Figure Story – Writing For Kids

simple kid made book writing activity Getting my son to read is no problem but when it’s time to write or draw he’s not as interested. Part of the reason is his expectations are much higher than his actual writing and drawing ability which are right on par with his age. I often feel the same way. One way to combat this but to still get him creating his own stories is to use descriptive photographs. For this book my son and I decided to use his Playmobil figurines and Melissa & Doug Castle and use the camera to shoot pictures of the action. This let my son focus on the story and not the illustrating. Don’t get me wrong drawing is important but choosing a few goals at once when it’s something challenging helps achieve those goals instead of piling on the frustration.  This is not part of our learning after school series because this took us a good hour and that series of posts are devoted to short activities to do after school. However it’s a great weekend activity for school age kids. For more tips on writing books with kids check out this guest post from The Reading Mama.

Start by deciding what you are going to use for your photographs. Action figures work well because you can pose them but you can use anything!kid made book working on set up

Next decide on your story.Set up the shots and shoot! Each shot will be it’s own page in the story. kid made book with action figures

After shooting look through the photos and decide which to keep and which to ditch. Print each photo with plenty of space to write under it . action figure books for kids

Choose a title and make a cover. kid made book with action figures

Time to write but before you do go through the photos and have your child tell the story. This works as a mental first draft. kid made playmobil book

Let them write it but help if they ask. I have a firm belief in invented spelling and encourage my son to sound out the words and write them how they sound. I know it can be hard to see your child write something incorrectly but spelling is developmental and this will help them develop a firmer understanding than simply memorizing. Telling them how to spell a word here or there will not harm them at all but allowing them lots of opportunities to work on it is beneficial.

kids made playmobil writing activity

Read to someone special. He was so proud to read it to his dad. kid made action figure book reading with daddy

 

Writing like reading is a non negotiable. If your child isn’t into soccer or jazz dance it’s not going to hurt them in the long run but not liking reading and writing will. So finding ways to make it fun is worth the effort.

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Writing Books With Your Child { Guest Post}

Writing Books with Your Child

by Becky Spence { This Reading Mama }

When kids are first learning to read, one of the things they need are some basic sight words under their belt. My son {age 4.5} has learned about 25 sight words this past year through the PreK reading curriculum I created for him. This summer, I want to expand and review that sight word learning without being too structured.

One way we will do this is by composing emergent readers together about him and the things he loves. There are many reasons why this concept works well. For one, it is all about the child. The majority of readers, even reluctant readers, will stick with something longer when the topic is of high interest to them {and what is more interesting to a child than a story about himself?} Secondly, this idea is highly adaptable to meet the developmental needs of the child {most writing activities are}. I will include some of those adaptations at the end of the post. But for now, I want to share how we made our first emergent book of the summer.

Steps to Writing Books with Your Child

Take Photos of Your Child Doing What He Loves | This Reading Mama

1. Ahead of time, I chose the predictable sentence I wanted for this particular book: “I like to…”. {For young readers, predictable text like this works well because of the repetition of words.} I asked him to pick several things he liked to do and he did them. While he was doing them, I took pictures of him. Painting, jumping, playing his favorite bird game, coloring…you name it.

2. I saved all the pictures to our computer. He chose the pictures he wanted to use and I printed them each onto a separate piece of paper to create a book.

3. I modeled the first sentence, “I like to color”. He listened as I talked through my sentence. It’s great for kids to hear us think out loud as we read and write. This is one way they gain the strategies they need to read and write with independence. An example of what I said, “I’m going to start writing over here on the left side of the paper because that’s where you start with reading and writing.” Think basic. Think simple.

Writing Books with Your Child

4. We worked on the other sentences together. “I like to jump.” “I like to play.” And so on. I let him take the lead and write as much as he wanted. When he didn’t want to write any more, I helped out. To keep him active in the writing while I had the pencil, he continued to help me sound out words. Writing books with kids is a great way to model spacing, capitialization, listening for phonemes {sounds in words}, and other foundational reading and writing skills.

5. Once all the sentences were written {this took two days}, we worked on the title page; made from colored construciton paper of his choice. Coming up with a title was a bit tricky for him, so I offered him several choices. He picked, “Things I Like to Do”. He added “by {his name}” to the title page as well.

6. We stapled the book together and he used our recycled bubble wand to read it to me. The book now has a home in his independent reading bin {a bin of books he can read himself, mainly from Reading the Alphabet}. If you don’t have a bin, displaying the books your child has written among the other books on the shelf or in a special space shows him you value his work as a writer.

Adaptations for Writing Books with Your Child

  • Instead of taking photos, ask your child to illustrate the pictures. This works particularly well for those children who love to draw.
  • Adapt the predictable sentence based on the words your child already knows or needs to know. Start simple. Sight words need to be introduced slowly with children just learning to read.
  • Use life experiences to create your sentences. For example, after a trip to the zoo, you could write the predictable sentence: “I saw a…” filling in the different animals your child saw that day.
  • Make it as long or as short as you’d like. Our book was five pages long because that’s all his attention span could handle.
  • Break up the activity into different segments. The entire book does not have to be completed in one sitting. Break it up over a few days, especially if you’re asking your child to do most of the drawing or writing.
  • For children who are not ready to do the writing, do it for them. But require that they be your helper, listening for sounds {phonemes} in words, helping put the space in between words by placing their finger there as a space holder, or drawing the period at the end of the sentence. Sometimes children just aren’t ready to write the entire sentence. Ask them to write the letters they do know how to write.
  • For more advanced readers/writers, mix up the sentences a bit instead of making the book totally predictable. For example, “I like to jump./I can jump very high./I jump the highest on my trampoline.” etc.

Predictable Sentence Starters

As a head-start, here are a few sentence starters that work well for writing predictable books with young readers, based on early sight word lists:

  • The _______.
  • A ______.
  • I see the ______.
  • I see a ______.
  • I can _______.
  • I like _______.
  • I like to ______. {example I used}
  • I saw a ______.
  • I am _______.
  • My _______.
  • Look at the ______.

 

Becky @ This Reading Mama

Becky Spence is a homeschooling mama to four little blessings. She is passionate about teaching, specifically literacy. She is the author of This Reading Mama, where she shares reading and writing activities as well as literacy curricula and printables. You can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google +.

{fill in the blank} Easel Stories

early writing activity for kids My daughter got this Melissa & Doug easel from Santa and she loves it but at our house we share most everything and her brother got a chance to play with the easel with this Fill in the Blank Easel  Story.  Writing , spelling and reading all come together with creativity and storytelling in this fast to set up activity. If you do not have an easel you can enter for a chance to win one from Melissa & Doug below or use a big sheet of paper on the wall. The reason I am suggesting the wall or an easel is because when kids write on vertical surfaces likes these their arms, wrists and hands naturally go into the proper position for writing. This makes it easier for many kids that struggle and doesn’t hurt those who aren’t either.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some dry erase makers, a dry erase board / easel and a big imagination.
  2. Start by writing out a simple story on the easel with dry erase markers.fill in the blank easel stories early literacy Here is mine – Once upon a time there was a ________ named _________. He was brave, smart and ____________ . One day he found a magic ____________ and it started to ____________. He thought that is was amazing and ran to show his ___________. when he got home his magic ____________ disappeared! He looked for it everyday but never saw it again.
  3. Invite your writer to come fill in the blanks.  Have them read it out loud.fill in the blank early writers activity
  4. Fill in the blanks. fill in the blanks spellingMy son kept asking me how to spell things. Here is what I do when he asks. I will ask him first to sound it out. If he is struggling I will help. Generally I ask that he uses his 6 year old spelling for everything. Spelling is developmental and if we skip stages in development there can be struggles later on. Invented spellings are a really important step. Kids aren’t misspelling things they are just spelling them at their level of development. As your child progresses feel free to correct them little by little. My son can read well and simple words like dog, hat, car are ones that I would not hesitate to correct his spelling but words like furious, sword or friends I am still encouraging him to sound out and spell at his level. Interestingly he spelled sword correctly later in the lesson.fill in the blanks sounding out and spelling
  5. He didn’t like my ending so he edited it. ” When he got home his magic sword would shock people.” fill int he blanks stories and spelling activity
  6. When he was done writing he proudly read it back to me.fill the blank stories for kids

Watching my son write this really showed me how hard white boards can be for new and struggling writers. Many need the friction of a chalkboard to help them form letters correctly. This easel has a black board on the other side and if you aren’t lucky enough to win it in our sweepstakes you can make your own dollar store ones like we did.

Enter For A Chance To Win

deluxe standing art easel from Melissa & Doug

Fill out the form below. Please only one entry per household. SWEEPSTAKES NOW CLOSED

Deluxe Wooden Standing Art Easel and Companion Set from Melissa & Doug

Official Rules
This sweepstakes is open to American residents 18 years or older. To be eligible for the sweepstakes you must enter your name and email in the google form embedded in this post. 1 winner will be drawn at random, using Random.org, after the sweepstakes closes on January 14th 2013 at 8:00pm PST. The winners will receive the Deluxe Wooden Standing Art Easel and Companion Set , valued at approximately $115. After the winner is notified he or she has 48 hours to respond with their mailing address to ship their easel and companion set to ,or another winner will be chosen at random. No purchase necessary.The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Any information gathered through the sweepstakes including email and postal addresses will not be used in anyway other than contacting winners and shipment of winnings. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
 
I am a blog ambassador for Melissa & Doug and am compensated for my work. The sweepstakes prize is provided for the winner free of charge from Melissa & Doug.

Make Your Own Travel Size Chalkboard

Turn dollar store clipboards into travel size chalkboards. This idea comes straight from my son’s kindergarten classroom. They do handwriting on little chalkboards and his teacher even pointed out that traditional chalkboards provide resistance that smoother surfaces like dry erase don’t. New writers often need that resistance to be successful in shaping the letters.  I made these during the week and when I put them out for my son this weekend I wasn’t even inside let alone ready with the camera before he was busy writing.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some chalkboard paint ( ours is from ages ago when we made our wall chalk board) , dollar store clip boards, a paint brush,painter’s tape
    and chalk for when it’s done.
  2. Start by taping off your board surface with painter’s tape.
  3. Paint. Let dry and add a 2nd coat.
  4. Peel off the tape. Voila – these cost me $1 each for the board, I already had the paint  and tape and 47cents for the chalk.  Pretty good deal.
  5. Write and write and write!  He loves them and if you have been following the saga of my son hating to write you will know that him loving  writing is a big deal. We just used a dusting cloth for an eraser, worked beautifully!

What I love about these is that they are small and light enough to take in a car or a plane but big enough for small hands to write on. They will definitely be in the bag for our next long plane ride but will be used all the time at home too.

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10 Word Games For Kids

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Sight word knowledge, rhyming, spelling and letter recognition are all skills that kids let slide during the summer. There is not reason all these skills can’t be put into games and fun activities so your child avoids the summer slide and have fun at the same time. All — of these focus on fun and learning!

Pizza Delivery & Reading Game
Word Families
Read & Find
Listen & Find Word Search
Giant 3D Word Search
Spin & Spell
Rhyming Tree
Halloween Word Search
Spelling Puzzles
Rhyming Jars