Dissecting a story
A common mistake children make when writing stories is to create an epic sequence of elaborate events throughout a story. Often they have developed enough story content to make The Lord of The Rings Trilogy look like a quick read. It can take a little while to help children understand that keeping the plot to their story simple (especially when they don't intend to spend years dedicated to writing it) will help them create a much more exciting and engaging story.
Getting children to accurately identify the main events within a story can help not only their reading comprehension but also provide them with a secure understanding of how to construct their own stories. Using a graphic to organise the events can aid children in their understanding of how the events link to each other. In our adventures we use different ways of presenting this to give you ideas but you can find what works best for your child.
Why not try Freeze Framing the events. This is where you pose as the characters at each of the main points in the story and take a photograph (you may need everyone to get involved with this). You may find that your little ones are more engaged and find it easier to relate to the story. Let them take the lead where they can and direct what everyone does. Identifying the main events of a story develops the readers understanding of the different story structures used. Some follow a traditional 'beginning - middle - end', or a 'story mountain' style 'introduction - build up - main event - solving it - end'. These are the structures that you will find taught more often in schools or teaching programmes but they are not the only structures your children can use. For example, the story may start at the end, then tell use what happened to get to that point. Think about the film 'The 6th Sense' which finished back at the very beginning revealing the BIG twist that we all missed (we wont repeat it hear in case you have missed that dated reference now). Can you find a story that starts part way through? As with other skills involved in reading and writing, this does not need to be limited to books. Try this out with different TV or movies. You will find that TV and movies are able to fit in a lot more events into their stories than into those that are written. This is because one of the key elements that make a written story interesting and make the reader want to continue is the description. This leads us into the next section ...