When you read to your child, point out that this is a story that someone thought of and wrote down to share with the world. Ask him to think of a story that he would like to share and tell him that you'll help him make his very own book.
Staple pages together in book form or buy a small book with lines on one page and blank on the next. This gives your child a page to write on and a page to draw or paste a picture that relates to what he wrote on the page.
Planning the story teaches planning and organizational skills. First tell him that he needs to think of a theme, he needs to decide what the story will be about. Will it be about monsters or magic? Will it be about people or animals? Then he has to begin to plan the actual story. This is a wonderful opportunity to teach him how to "brain storm". Brain storming is an important technique for when he is older and writing essays in examinations. Brain storming allows him to get his ideas down as they come into his head; without first trying to organize them or put them into correct grammar and spelling. It is particularly important for children who have ADHD or some other learning disability which impacts on their "working memory". Brain storming allows your child to throw the ideas onto a piece of paper and use it as an external "working memory". Once he has put a lot of ideas on the paper, he comes back and decides which idea he is going to write about first. He then writes a short line or two about that point and then crosses it off his brain storm and chooses the next idea that he feels follows closely on the first.
When your child begins his brain storming, tell him that he will not have to write about every idea he puts on his paper; he can choose which ones he likes best. This is important otherwise, as he sees the list grow long, he inhibits his creativity because he becomes anxious about how much writing there will be. Do not bother about spelling or even letter formation during the brain storming. Let him "throw the words onto the page"; this removes the inhibiting aspect of spelling and careful writing. You help him with correct spelling and correct letter formation when he begins to write the story.
For each idea he chooses from his brain storm sheet, help him create a grammatically correct sentence. If your child struggles to write, rather let him write some key words only, such as the main characters' names and the title of the story. Let him look through magazines to find and then cut out the words or letters to make the words for the rest. He can then paste the letters and words correctly in place to make the sentences he needs to write. This encourages him to take on a project that needs many words, even though he finds writing arduous. You are therefore preventing his difficulty with writing from stopping the other learning that making his own story book brings.
Once he has written his story, with a beginning, middle and interesting end, he can draw a large "The End" and decorate it. He then begin the illustrations. If he is not very good at pencil control and drawing, encourage him to do patterns around the border of every illustration page. This encourages and develops pencil control while removing the anxiety of not being able to get his picture perfect. He then finds and cuts out pictures from magazines. He might not find exactly what he is looking for. This is great from a learning point of view because it gives you the opportunity to suggest that he cuts different pieces out of different pictures and then pastes them together to make the picture he wants. This requires planning. Cutting is also very good for developing bilateral fine motor control and helps strengthen his fingers for comfortable pencil control. When he draws a border around each illustration, he can make it look attractive without needing too much fine pencil control. You can also suggest different drawing patterns that are actually early pre-writing patterns, such as a zig-zag pattern or the "wave pattern" of the cursive 'c'. He will then be developing his pencil control in a non-threatening, creative way.
Once he has completed his book, he can draw a cover to illustrate it and write the title and his name on it. He has just published his first book! Let him read it to Granny and Grandad and let him read it to you when he goes to bed.
Creating his own story book has brought the world of books closer to him. Reading, spelling, writing and language have all been helped. He has also developed better planning skills and by learning how to use the brain storming technique, he has even begun to learn a key exam strategy for his later years at school and college.
SHARON STANSFIELD HAS DEVELOPED A GAMES-IN-A-BOOK READING PROGRAMME CLICK HER TO LEARN MORE ABOUT IT
You might also like to read some other articles which Sharon has written to help parents support their children's learning. Click her to see the Index of Blog Posts