Dear CCS Summer Club,

Hi!  I’m Teacher Carrie, CCS parent and Curriculum Coordinator.  Today we’re going to be exploring using our imaginations to act out books with young children.  This is a fun activity for which you don’t need any materials except a good story.  In my house, this activity has also helped to add interest to the familiar books we’ve been reading and re-reading over the past few months.  In today’s video, I invite kids to act out the story Cap For Sale with me.

Learning/ Content Area:  Helping children plan how they can reenact a book engages them in developing important executive function skills:  by making a plan first, holding that plan in mind and then carrying it out, they rehearse inhibitory control.  By co-planning with you or a sibling, your child exercises social problem-solving, as well as using oral language.  During this time, we must ask our children to enact new and challenging social rules, such as maintaining physical distance from friends (inhibitory control) and finding ways to communicate successfully with others while masks conceal our facial expressions (social problem-solving).  In order for us to support our children in being able to follow these new rules, we must consciously work to strengthen the executive function skills that are developmentally foundational to their success.

Video:  Join me in acting out Caps For Sale! 

Activities:  You can follow up on our video lesson by inviting your child to write their stories with your support!  Here’s a few ideas that will work with kids at a wide variety of different developmental stages:

Ways to support your child in writing stories:

  • For the younger learners, getting started on writing might look like your child sharing a story about a picture they have drawn.  You can then simply record their words on the picture.  I tend to ask kids whether I may write the words on the front or the back of their paper and also what marker color they prefer for me to write in to convey to them that this is their work that they have ownership over.  
  • For any age learner: Is your child explaining an interesting structure they have built to you or telling you what just happened in their pretend-play game?  Grab a paper and tell them, “Just a minute.  I really want to write down your words so that I won’t forget them because this is a very interesting story.  Tell me slowly- I don’t want to miss any of the details!”  Then record for them.  I wouldn’t interrupt the flow of their ideas too much by asking them to help you spell words, etc.  Just let them feel the power and delight of having an important and interesting story to tell and the fun that comes with getting to hold onto that story forever.   
  • Many children of all developmental stages enjoy writing in books and journals.  Depending on your child’s development and temperament this may look like:
    • writing scribbles or small shapes across a page
    • Writing random strings of letters and asking you what they spell (it’s always fun to read aloud the nonsense sounds together!) 
    • Writing random strings of letters and telling you words what they spell 
    • Asking you to write down specific words for them to copy 
    • Sounding out words or parts of words for themselves or with an adult “stretching out the sounds” for them (such as writing “ILU” for “I love you”).  I call this “kid writing” and always encourage it.  I sometimes ask if they would like me to write in “book writing” underneath their words or not; it’s nice to add book writing so that we can remember what they were trying to write but it’s more important that we empower them to understand that this is their work and it fully belongs to them.  

All of these are important and appropriate stages for your child to be in (and these are only some of the myriad ways that children may explore writing)!

Dictation Station:  If you have access to a printer, here’s a super simple activity: offer what I call a Dictation Station.  This is just a special time when your child can sit on your lap and narrate a story to you that you type on the computer and then print out. This is wonderful for them as developing writers because it allows them to tell much more detailed and complex stories than they can record themselves (or that we necessarily have the patience to write down for them all the time).   There is also something about seeing their words in print that helps children to view themselves as real authors, which indeed they are. My children often enjoy adding illustrations after we’ve printed them out.  Please share your own published work with us!

Happy storytelling!

Best wishes,