Fidget has been developing his reading and writing skills and seeing his understanding and comprehension flourish in the last year has been amazing. Children learn so much in the early years and key stage 1, so anything we, as parents, can do to help them will only make their learning journey more enjoyable.
As part of the reading journey, Fidget and his class were giving writing tasks to help their comprehension of what they have read. One task was writing their favourite word from the story, another was to write a simple question they could ask a character. But our favourite was story mapping. For those of you less familiar with this activity, a story map is a visual aid created by the storyteller to help them remember what happens, and in what order, in their story. Children are encouraged to use this skill to help develop their confidence, help their memory and make story telling more engaging and active.
Anything that makes the stories that the children are learning about come alive is a big hit with my children, and Fidget has embraced this aspect of learning. So, we have returned to this activity during the school holidays to capture what he has learnt from his recent reading activities.
For once this was an activity for just the two of us, and we spend about 20 minutes working on it. We started by going over the story he had chosen, in this case it was the Tangled version of Rapunzel. We talked about the key events from the story, and I asked him what he wanted to include in his map to make sure what he drew was as child-led as possible. Using the STABILO Easygraph pencil, Fidget drew the magic flower, the tower, and two characters – Flynn and Rapunzel. He also drew how Rapunzel let down her hair for Flynn to climb down from the tower so they could start their adventure together.
What was great, was not only did Fidget use his tripod grip, but he also talked as he drew, explaining all the details he was including and what the characters might be feeling and thinking. For the children in the early stages of writing, spelling or phonics, creating a picture and encouraging them to talk can help them see that they do have the understanding – the other skills will come with practice. I might keep and frame this drawing – it’s not perfect, but it was all Fidget’s hard work!
Katie Banks of Little House of Words