When children understand story elements, they are more easily able to organize writing. The idea I would like to share with you today originated in a workshop I went to several years ago by Tony Stead.
My class of second graders have been working on comprehension strategies to increase our reading fluency. We have done lots of whole class stories where we have read the text of the story, typed out in chunks and then we picked out the main points of each chunk until the story was over. (You can see a post about Activate Reading Instruction System here. ) This is a great way to teach and promote visualizing. We then read the actual book altogether.
We have also been writing stories and working on beginning, middle and end of stories in written form.
This time, I wanted to emphasize story elements. We used oral language and our background knowledge of a familiar story to “act out” beginning, middle and end in a more active way. First, I told the class we would be retelling: The Three Little Pigs (as I know it is a familiar story).
Then I asked them to tell me one event – ANYTHING from the story in one sentence. Some of the things the kids said were:
“One pig built his house out sticks.”
“The wolf said ‘I’ll huff and puff and I’ll blow your house down!”
“The two little pigs ran to the third little pig’s house because it was made out of brick and it was safer.”
and so on…
I had about 6 or 7 kids come up with their sentences. As new ones came up, I tapped them on the head and they had to repeat their sentence/event.
Some kids noticed right away that things just weren’t in the right order so when I suggested we put the kids and events in order, hands went up right away to adjust the order of the students. (Of course I used the ordinal numbers when I questioned them so that I could get a little Math in too! “Oh, you mean she should go 3rd?”)
The beauty of this strategy, is that it can be utilized at a very young age for story sequencing, at an older age for beginning, middle and end, and for a more challenging focus or for older students to pick out MAIN POINT and SUPPORTING DETAILS which is a higher level skill.
I hope you will try this – the kids LOVE it!
Alternatively, you can just click on the link up below to find something a little more specific to your needs.
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