Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Introduce Narrative Writing with Folktales

Feel free to go to my teacher store and look up this free resource if your kids are just getting into writing folktales. It includes a cloze (that is cloze-not close) writing activity, a controlled framework for writing a story. It also has a word bank for them to refer to. It's a good start for those hesitant writers.

My kids love to write, but they're all over the place when they write. I am always and forever trying to figure out how to get them to write creatively but in an organized manner. Reading folktales is a fun and easy way to teach them the structure of a simple narrative. The folktale formula can help even struggling writers get a good storyline down.

First kids need to read and hear several folktales. They might notice on their own how they seem like such "old" stories, timeless, and written with patterns, and how often things come in three's. They need to make connections, see the patterns and similarities between the different tales. Then prewriting begins.

First, they plan their characters (animals or people), a setting (Once upon a time, or Long ago, in a forest, in a cottage, etc.), a simple problem (usually involving bad vs good), and a solution (in which everyone lives happily ever after). Add details to the story, (whether 3 characters, 3 problems, or 3 events) plus a little lesson learned at the end, and the sense of timelessness (no specific time or place). This is the stuff of which folktales are made. Fairytales, by contrast, involve royalty.

From this point, you can take your kids in any direction...from final drafts, to oral storytelling, to creating class books, puppet skits, dioramas, and so much more.

I find that folktales, fairytales, and fables really sync together --and right around December seems to the right time in the school year.