We have been working on storytelling and journaling in a notebook this year but, with kids ages 3-5, I had to brainstorm some easy ways for them to put their thoughts into words and also tell a story. My three year-old is just beginning his writing skills and one of my five year-olds fatigues very quickly when she writes or draws. By the end of the year we found the perfect combination of capturing their thoughts and helping them tell a story through journaling.
1. Begin with a notebook for each child.
2. Let them draw a picture or arrange one on a felt board. (I found our felt boards at Michael’s, they are relatively inexpensive and now I grab a new one every time we go because they love creating new scenes.)
3. After they’ve drawn their picture or arranged it, let them narrate their story to you while you write or write it themselves. I adapt this part for each level of writer:
-beginning letter-making –> write for them or let them write whatever letter you are currently working on within the journal (i.e. if they are working on “A” stop at several a’s and have them write it in.
-writing letters –> pick a specific word or words that are recurring in the story and have them write those words
-writing unassisted –> let them write their story as you assist with spelling words and how to form sentences
My kids love doing this and as the year went on we progressed to discussing the parts of a story and different terms like “character” and “setting.” Lots of fun and they caught on to more than I even thought they would at this age because it’s such a hands on activity when you incorporate the felt board.
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