One of the things I like to talk to kids about when I make author visits is how much storytelling they already do, even if they never write anything down. Even very young children find themselves daydreaming about people and things around them. At the grocery store they see a guy with an unusual hat and start to wonder where he got it? Who gave it to him? What is that strange looking symbol on the side? Why doesn’t it fit him better?
Before they know it they’re weaving together a tale about the man and his hat – and a story is born! And that family with the two boys – are they twins? They must like baseball because they’re wearing baseball shirts. Why is the taller boy wearing that bandage on his elbow?
Talking to kids about things they’ve wondered about is a perfect way to start them on the road to writing stories. Maybe they think about the bright colors they see at sunset and wonder where all the shades of orange and red come from. Encourage them to make up their own story about the colors in the sky.
Where do earthworms go when they tunnel below the ground? As adults, we can look it up – but why not just make up some fun story with some silly explanation? Encourage your kids to make up their own answers to life’s funny oddities. Ask your kids what they think about earthworms, and you might be surprised at their imaginations! Show your kids how often story ideas come from the simple musing – – – “I wonder …”
I also encourage kids to think of their favorite fairy tale and change the ending. What if Cinderella had been in the bathroom when the clock struck twelve? What if the three little pigs didn’t speak the same language as the wolf? What if there was an eighth dwarf with a super power? Go for it.
Lynn Garthwaite is the author of a series of beginning chapter books starring her main character Dirkle Smat. (http://tinyurl.com/43roovy) Watch for the fourth book in the series to be published soon. She is currently researching and writing a book for fifth graders that explains how our states got their goofy shapes. She gives teasers about the new book on her blog – – – www.lynngarthwaiteblog.com.