Do you have a young author at home?

Be There Bedtime stories is full of great stories that have the power to inspire young readers AND writers. After reading a really entertaining story (or being read one), many kids feel they may want to take a turn at writing a story themselves. One way to make writing a story more accessible to young writers is to have the child dictate their story to someone at the computer. This alleviates the labor of physically writing it themselves, and the young writer is freed up to put their thoughts and ideas down in a quick and easy way. After their story is typed out on the computer you can help your child to read it back and even help them with editing their work. And then may come illustrations!

On a personal note, both of my daughters, (now 4 and 6) have written many an exciting tale with this method. If I hadn’t been there to type out their thoughts and ideas for them they wouldn’t have had the stamina to finish most (if any) of their stories.

A simple framework to keep in mind for a good story is to have them include:
1. An interesting setting
2. Interesting characters
3. A problem (which helps to make it interesting)
4. A solution to the problem.

Outside of coaching them on this basic framework, I try to let them fill the story with all of their ideas. It is also a great time capsule to keep so that your child can revisit their early authoring!


2 thoughts on “Do you have a young author at home?

  1. A young author at home…yes, if you have a child in your life, you do have a young author! Both of my children (now 26 and 21) used to dictate stories to me, and would watch like a hawk as I, the scribe, furiously wrote them down. They were still pre-reading, and would ask me to read back to them what they had dictated…wanting to make sure that I hadn’t left anything out. “But where does it say that the airplane landed in the FRONT yard?” they would press, and I’d show them exactly where…details were important, and even though they couldn’t fully decode the written word yet, this was motivation to do so, as golden as it gets. When the story was rendered in written form, and to their exacting standards, they would add pictures. I would only write on the lower half of each sheet, leaving the upper part for illustrations.
    I still have these stories, which I believe provided a huge impetus for bringing my two to literacy.

  2. I love picturing this scenario in my head. When it comes to creativity, it sounds like its best for the kid to be in charge! Letting ideas flow freely, they will then come to life through the hands of the parent – as if dangling from a puppetmaster.
    You never know what book – be it the story or the illustrations – will unlock the secret gifts and interests of a child. It’s the activity AFTER the story that truly makes it a developmental process.

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