Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Share a Story - Shape a Future: Day #2

Logo Created by: Elizabeth Dulemba

Share a Story - Shape A Future - Day 2 (Literacy My Way, Literacy Your Way)
Share a Story - Shape a Future is an online event that is trying to harness the internet to share ideas on how to encourage children to read.  Many of the ideas shared may help engage your children in their reading.  I encourage you to check out Share a Story - Shape a Future.

  • Does your child enjoy writing? How can we link reading and writing in ways that will motivate kids?
I am going to draw on lots of different types of experiences to answer this question.  I taught fourth grade students with learning disabilities for 3 years. My daughter has only just started to show an interest in writing.   Also, I have been writing this blog on and off for about 2 years.  

The fourth grade students I taught, for the most part, hated writing.  For some of my students the physical mechanics of writing was difficult.  It was hard to form letters and fatigued quickly.  For some students, spelling and vocabulary skills were lacking which made writing for them embarrassing.  Still others just didn't like it.

My daughter is only four years old, but just recently has shown an interest in writing.  She has a journal which she writes in occasionally.  She also writes lots of thank you notes and cards to friends and family.

The most interesting piece, (in my opinion, of course), I wrote from my blog in the past few months was for the birthday of Uri Shulevitz, author of many Caldecott Honor Books.  He was author that used his artistic talent to become a successful writer.  He has said that his mind tells stories in pictures.  So, he documents those pictures first and then the words come more easily.

All these stories have a common idea for linking reading and writing.  The common idea is to have children draw first and write second.  I would have my students draw pictures often before they started writing.  It was crucial for me to see that they were thinking and many times I couldn't find that out because the process of writing got in the way.  Therefore, I had them draw first and then had them record what they drew in words the best that they could. (Look for the storyboard worksheets that I discuss in my Crockett Johnson piece.)

My daughter loves to draw and color. Many times we have written a sentence together to describe what she has drawn.  Many times it is quite humorous what she has drawn.  Little ones have so many ideas in their head, but don't always have the words to communicate what they are thinking. But, the pictures help bridge the gap to their writing.

Uri Shulevitz taught me that writing is different for everyone.  Some people think in words and others think in pictures.  For him, it was the pictures that taught him to write.  It is the challenge of the teacher and parent to help the child find their strength.
  • What is your favorite book to screen adaptation? 
Yesterday, I discussed how my daughter and I enjoyed reading Charlie and Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl.  She loved the movie, 1971 style.  Many parts are different than the book but it was fun discussing the differences.  I have a few favorites of my own - Bridge to Terabithia (2007), Holes (2003),  The Polar Express (2004), and The Wizard of Oz (1939). 

I was thinking all morning about this question trying to come up with my favorites and I thought about something that might fit into my answer too.  My kids and I have really enjoyed checking out the DVDs at the local library that turn picture books into animation.  Some of them are under the name Scholastic Storybook Treasures and some are under the name Scholastic Video Collection.  These videos use the actual illustrations and text from the picture books but bring them to life with some animation, great narration, and sound.  Our favorite is I Stink and More Stories on Wheels.  It includes many books but our favorites on the DVD are I Stink by Kate McMullan, Trashy Town by Andrea Zimmerman, and Arnie the Doughnut by Laurie Keller. 

I like these DVDs for many reasons.  First, they are better for my kids to watch than Sponge Bob (no offense to SB, funny sponge, but I would prefer that my kids not watch him).  Second, my kids love seeing the books they enjoy come to life.  Third, and most important to me, is that they help me read the books better when I read aloud.  The narrators bring so much to the story with their intonation and style that I often duplicate the reading to my kids because it keeps them so engaged.  I feel watching these videos has helped me become a better oral reader.
  • Do you or your child have a story that you like to "act out"? What is the story? and who are the role players?

I couldn't think of any stories that we act out at our house besides Star Wars.  Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia have been residing in our house for about 6 months! I ended up with the role of Han Solo and unfortunately for my wife, she is Chewbacca.

Visit my other posts from the week:  Day 1Day 2Day 3 , Day 4 

Note:  This article was written as participating post in the Share a Story 2010 online blogging event.


  1. What a great set of answers ... thank you for all the visually based suggestions. It is helpful to know that writing will come. My own second grader rebels at the word "write" but loves to draw pictures ... and is forever adding doodles to her Friday spelling test. I keep hoping the teachers don't discourage that.

  2. What a great resource!

  3. As I was saying...I'm glad you enjoy Trashy Town. Thanks!

  4. Terry,

    I always worry about teachers discouraging students. Sometimes they don't realize how much of an effect they have on children. I was encourage parents to stay positive and continue to find creative ways to motivate.


  5. Terry- I am a special education teacher, and we actually encourage our general education teachers to allow doodling...there is research that says kids that doodle actually pay better attention than kids that don't!

  6. Andrea,

    I guess to say that we enjoy the book Trashy Town would be a little bit of an understatement. We love it! My two year old can hum the tune from the video and audio book. In fact, when he was younger he referred to garbage trucks as "Trashy Towns". Thank you for writing such a great book.

    Would I be amiss to ask you your birthday? We would love to celebrate it here!

    Also Good luck on your blog: http://www.picturebookparty.com/


  7. Eric, I totally agree about writing. Art and writing are a match made in heaven to me. I especially love all the great web spaces that link the two, and the technology that makes it all possible.

    Thanks for a great contribution to Literacy My Way!


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