Children as young as preschool like to tell stories. This tradition continues through kindergarten and elementary school. Encourage their storytelling skills by using magazine pictures as creative writing prompts.
**Light colored marker (golden yellow or orange are best)
Preparation for writing:
1. Go through magazines to find pictures to cut out as creative writing prompts.
2. Cut out the pictures, as small as possible while maintaining the subject matter.
3. Glue the picture to the writing paper.
Writing the story:
1. Allow the child to choose the picture about which he wants to write.
2. Have the child dictate the story. Repeat it back to him, making necessary adjustments for grammar and cohesion.
3. Write the story in the light colored marker. Say each word as it is written, and form letters correctly.
4. Give it to the child to trace.
**Make sure the pictures are appropriate for use in the classroom.
**The most popular pictures for young children are animals, food, and holidays. Include photos of families and young children having fun. Avoid pop culture pictures as much as possible. Think of encouraging children to be creative, while also reinforcing virtues and values.
**Cut out parts of pictures, to make children think harder about a story. Cut out a mouth, an eye, the spoon from a bowl, individual letters.
**Find writing paper by ordering it from a school supply company, such as Deep Discount School Supply, or print your own from the ABCTeach membership site.
**Smaller pictures can fit in the top section of story writing paper designed to have room for illustrations. Larger pictures should be justified right or left to maximize the area of writing lines. Or, simply use writing paper with no room for pictures.
**Some may wish children to choose their own pictures from magazines. Put out children’s magazines for children to page through in their entirety. Otherwise, put out pages from which children can cut. Be sure to carefully check both sides before putting them out!
**Children can also glue their own pictures to their writing paper. Put out a tray with a basket of pictures and a glue stick, with a tray of writing paper.
**Younger children who are not ready to write or trace letters should focus on the storytelling craft, instead. Allow them to dictate the story, then take it home.
**Children can still practice writing by tracing with markers.
**Encourage invented spelling and the use of dictionaries.
**Use verbatim story dictation to keep track of any problems with grammar, syntax, and linguistic organizational issues that a child may be experiencing. These can be very beneficial when pursuing evaluations with specialists.