Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Today's Story Starter is about being sick.
You are four years old and you woke up today feeling miserable. Your head is stuffy, your throat is itchy, and your eyes are watery. The only reason that you got out of bed this morning was because you had to go with Mommy to drop your brother off at school. You want to go back to sleep but can’t. Mommy is working from home today so she can stay with you but she has to do her work. What do you do? Are you going to watch television all day? Snuggle up in Mommy and Daddy’s bed? Stay in your own room and play with your toys?
Now to help turn this sickly day into a picture book, ask some “What if” questions:
What if the batteries are dead on your favorite toy?
What if the television stops working?
What if all you want to eat is Jello and there isn’t any in the house?
What if you can’t find your favorite Dolly and you just want to snuggle her in your bed because you feel horrible.
What if you find out that school is canceled because of a power shortage and your friends want to know if you can come out and play? Will you suddenly feel much better?
What if you are hungry and Mommy is busy on a work call. Will you help yourself to whatever you want to eat in the kitchen?
If you were four years old and you were home sick, what would you want to do all day? What if you couldn’t play that game, eat that snack, watch that movie? Etc… What would you do to solve your problem?
Now write…don’t over think it. Your first sentences don’t have to turn into a book. See where it goes. You may write a page of what comes to mind about being a sick preschooler and then hit upon a spark that ignites into a story. Good luck.
If this starter inspires you, post a comment and let me know. If you're looking for more story starters to use as a springboard for your writing, you'll find them in the index on the right side of the blog.
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
You're five years old. You and Mommy had lots of fun together all summer. Mommy has stayed at home with you as long as you can remember. Daddy goes to work almost every day. You and Mommy played at the water park and the playground, baked cookies, did scavenger hunts and made obstacle courses, read books, and giggled – a lot.
Today is your first day of Kindergarten at a big kid school (you have only been to preschool) and you get to take the bus. You and Mommy eat breakfast, grab your brand new backpack and your lunch box and head up the street to the bus stop. You are excited and scared. You feel like a big kid but you know that most of the other kids at your new school will be bigger than you are. You have been to the school once already to meet your teacher and see your classroom but Mommy was with you. Standing at the bus stop, you realize that there are no other kids getting on your bus at your stop. You squeeze Mommy’s hand. The bus lurches to a stop in front of you and the doors slide open. What do you do?
Do you confidently get on board and take a seat?
Do you grab Mommy and sob into her leg?
Do you turn and take off down the street toward your house?
Now to help turn it into a book for children, ask some “What if” questions:
What if you get on the bus and every seat already has someone sitting in it? Where do you sit?
What if you get on the bus and there are no other kids? (maybe you were the first stop)
What if the bus driver is scary looking?
What if you are tripped by a fifth grader as you walk down the aisle to find a seat?
What if you get on the bus, sit down, and realize that you and Mommy forgot something that you were supposed to bring?
Get creative. The first time on a bus can be a great experience or a miserable one. Are you independent and confident or soo scared that you think you might be sick? Do you make a new friend?
Now write. Have fun – let your hands type or write whatever flows from your creative mind.
Monday, January 9, 2012
You’ve been inside during Kindergarten, for what feels like the longest winter ever! The snow has been gone for weeks but it has been freezing, rainy, and just plain icky outside. Today is the first warm, sunny day since October. You glance longingly out the window and wait for your teacher to announce that it’s time for recess. “Time to go outside!” she calls. You leap off your circle on the carpet and run to your cubby. You grab your windbreaker and flop it on the ground so you can flip it up and pull it on all by yourself then jump in line behind the other kids. You can hardly control yourself but you follow the lines rules as your class heads down the hall and out the door. Outside! Kids race off in different directions. Some run to the swings, some to the jungle gym. Some kids are playing four square on the pavement. Others are just walking around in the grass. What will you do? Where will you go? Will you grab the hand of your best friend and run somewhere together?
To turn your thoughts into a story for children, ask some “What if” questions...
What if you go to get your best friend and she or he is already playing with someone else?
What if you really, really want to swing and they are all taken?
What if you trip while running to the jungle gym, scrape your knee, and have to go to the nurse’s office? (missing your first recess outside in a super long time)
What if someone shoved you in line and you shoved back? Both of you get a time out and have to miss recess. How do you feel?
Now write…don’t over think it. A lot of ideas may pop into your head. Pick one and see where it goes. It might just be a stream of thought or a memory. Whatever it is, ask some “What if” questions and figure out how a Kindergartener can solve the problem.
*Remember that a story for children is less powerful if an adult (the teacher or recess attendant) solves the problem for the child.
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