2. That’s a Different Story

Narrative Writing

Depending on the writing abilities of your students, you can invite them to dictate a story they infer from a book’s pictures or they can rewrite the book themselves.

To begin the lesson, read the book aloud while showing the pictures. (Consider using a document camera to ensure all students can see.) At the end of the story, have students turn to a partner to talk about what happened in the story. Allow enough time for the partner discussion so that students feel compelled to elaborate.

Allow a few students to share their thinking with the whole class and, as they do, flip to the illustrations that correspond with what the volunteers share. Point out features of the illustrations that support what students say.

Explain that most of what students said about the book came from the illustrations because the words don’t do very much to help the story. Tell students that the book deserves new words and that they are going to decide what the words will be.

For dictation, display the first illustration and ask students to turn and talk with a partner to tell what happened (or is happening) in the picture. Select one student to share with the class as you transcribe what they say. You can take the dictation on Post-it notes directly in the book or write on chart-paper and invite students to help you sound out or write some of the words. Repeat this procedure for the remaining illustrations. Then, read the newly written story aloud to the class.

If your students are able to complete the writing independently, you can give them booklets to write in (with or without photocopied illustrations) or simply a sheet of lined paper. To scaffold the activity, you can display the first page of the book and model where in the booklet or on the sheet of paper students will write. The whole class can write one story, students can be encouraged to write their own versions, or a combination of both (some students writing independently, others engaging in guided writing) might be best to address the various writing abilities of your students. Depending on how much time is available after the activity, students can share what they wrote for one page or for their whole book.

Click here to return to the list of activities.

Click here to go to Activity 3: What’s That You Said?

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