How Parents Can Foster Small Moment Writing Through Story Telling
When your child comes home from school and says “I don’t have anything to write about” your help can come quickly by just taking the lead to talk about an experience you’ve had together. A small moment story is a true story about your child’s life in which they pick one event with many details. Story telling about that event often turns into the best writing and it’s a great bonding experience for you and your child.
According to Columbia Teacher’s College Reading and Writing Project Founder Lucy Calkins: “Although parents sometimes work to be sure their sons and daughters come to school knowing their numbers and ABCs, what in fact matters most to a child’s later literacy are the opportunities children have to take the moments of their lives and spin them into stories.”
Telling stories are crucial to your child’s language development and sharing them orally is a fundamental advantage to establishing good readers and writers.
As you are talking with your child about a shared event:
- Zoom in on a more focused topic rather than a broad story (for example instead of telling everything about the birthday party tell about the part when opening a favorite gift)
- Add details and descriptive words to create a picture in the mind (for example tell several things about the feeling of being happy when building a sandcastle on vacation
- Use an organized flow of events from beginning and middle to the end of a story (try adding words like “first…, next… and then…finally…”)Most importantly, take time to listen to your child retell their story and celebrate the joy of a language enriched tale.
Here are two excerpts from 2nd grade’s recent Small Moment writing unit:
…My feet shifted toward the water, before I knew…a GIGANTIC wave carried us away from the shore. I can’t see anything but I can hear a faint sound. My mom ask my dad: Do you see them?…
- Author Austin Ma from his story “Water Craze”
…When everything was quiet and something was wrong. I looked around and saw mother was not there! Even my brother! I was so scared that I wanted to yell “Where are you Mom?” but I was embarrassed. My eyes filled with tears. I called “mom” in a small voice. Two of my tears fell down to my nose….
- Author Sunny Yu from her story “Getting Lost in the Temple”
To read more stories about Shekou International School visit their website: www.sis.org.cn/why-choose-sis