Sunday, November 20, 2011
Kids, other kids are the answer. If you want an answer that a kid understands ask another child what they think! I decided to take this one step further. Why not have kids make their own book? They know better than us adults how to explain the unexplainable and tell it in the most creative ways. Plus, they get to work on developing their letters, words, chain of events, and problem solving skills without knowing it. On a selfish note, it provides you with a keepsake to cherish!
A computer or lined paper (depends on kids’ skill level)
Stickers of characters or things
Start by having the kid pick out the main characters, if they are older, maybe have them draw the main character and name them. From there ask what is going to happen to the character in their story? Will they be hero’s or need help, will they discover or explain something. From there decide the chain of events, what is the hero doing on the first page/how do we meet them?
Mark with a pencil or crayon a line on the page where the kid needs to not decorate below. This is where the words will go once printed or written. Have the kid decorate the page accordingly, jot or type what the kid says the character is doing (keep it simple as sometimes a kids explanation can be a book itself or write it down and have that be the story). When the first page is done, set it to the side keeping it visible for reference.
Ask the child simply, what happens next? Have them pick the next characters and create the scene for page two. Once page two is designed, read back to them page one and ask what page two shows. Type/write this down. Continue this cycle until the story is over. Recap the story with the kids. Once you’ve read the story to them ask what the title is of the book. Don’t worry if the title makes no sense to you, it’s their book and they have the connection in their head.
If the child is old enough, give them lined paper and have them write the story as you read it back to them. Now either print the story and attach it to the blank parts of the pages or attach the child written words to the blank parts of the page. Using contact paper covers each page front and back to protect from wear and tear. Punch holes in each page. Take string or empty key ring rings and secure the pages together leaving room to turn each page if you use string.
Now, sit down with your kid and read them their story, keep it in their own book case, and encourage them to make more! Kids make the best authors and are never afraid to guess or reason something out in their minds; even if the reasoning they come to makes no sense they aren’t afraid to try. Creating their own stories provides them documentation of their development and reminds us that sometimes the best answer we can offer a child is a question asking them to help us understand something. In closing, I do not know everything, but one thing I know is that wisdom and age do not go hand in hand. The most interesting answers to some difficult questions can be found in the minds of a child. Just don’t rely on them for advice on what makes a good dinner (candy and cake do not help muscles grow or brain cells develop)!
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