The following are writing prompts and discussion topics based on the blog, “The Importance of Storytelling.”
1. Write a story that would be good to tell a 3- to 5-year-old child. After you have written the story, write the answers to these questions.
Who is the main character – is it someone or something that a small child will identify with? (Remember that children identify with people, animals, and things – for example, like the little engine that could or Clifford the big red dog.
What are the characteristics of the main character? Is it easy to tell that the character is kind or angry or excited?
What does the main character want to have happen?
What does happen through the story? Do things get more scary, exciting, fun as it goes along?
By the end of the story, how has the main character changed?
2. If you didn’t have good answers for each question above, re-write your story to enrich those parts.
3. What are three good reasons why adults should read to children? Connect each of your reasons to something you know about how children develop.
4. What is one of your favorite childhood stories? Why was it your favorite
5. Pair up with a partner. Pick a subject for an original story. Each of you write a story on that subject.
6. Tell your story to your partner. What are three things that are alike about the stories? Three things that are different? Why do you think the stories ended up being alike or different in those ways?
NOTE: If you prefer that students not be required to write about or discuss themselves, suggest they respond to the prompts by talking about their experiences with friends or relatives instead of themselves.
Teachers, you can use this blog in classrooms. Here are two ideas about how.
- For middle or high school parenting or child development courses:
- Use the blog for discussion topics
- Require students to research the topics and agree or disagree with what the blog is suggesting.
2. For all courses, especially English Language Arts:
- Use the blog for writing prompts for paragraphs, theme papers, journal entries, class starters, etc. Have students read the blog and respond to:
- Do you agree with what is being said about kids? Do kids really act, think or feel that way?
- Do you agree with what is being said about parents, grandparents, teachers and child caregivers? Do or should they act, think or feel that way?
- What would be your advice on this topic?
- What was left out of this article?
- If you were a parent, would you use any of this information? How?
Why can this blog be a useful teaching tool?
- Students that see connections between their coursework and their lives do better in school.
- Most students will either be parents one day or have children in their lives that they care about, so the topical information can help them build their knowledge about children and parenting and develop a positive image of the type of parenting they want to do.
- The new core literacy standards adopted by most states call for frequent writing in all courses.
- Newly developed end-of-course assessments to be used by many states will require that students demonstrate that they can think critically. These prompts help students practice critical thinking.
- Newly developed end-of-course assessments to be used by many states will require that students demonstrate that they can analyze what they read. These prompts help students practice analysis.