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5 Ways to Talk About Story

Books, Family Fun, Reading, Skills, Story

Published on: December 7, 2023

Written by: Gina Hagler

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Welcome to 2023! I’m not big on making resolutions but I am big on starting fresh. When it comes to my kids and the kids I tutor, that thing usually involves something with Language Arts.

Here are 5 things you can do to make 2023 a more literary year:

  1. Family Movie Night – Watch a family movie that is not based on a book. Why? Because most kids are convinced they can avoid reading the book by waiting until a movie is made and then just seeing the movie – never mind that all the two may have in common is the title. So, shortcut that entire discussion and snuggle up for a movie that’s a movie in its own right.
    • Search Rotten Tomatoes Essential Movies for Kids or try Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Lilo & Stitch, Monsters Inc., Who Framed Roger Rabbit, and/or Moana.
      • Once you’ve watched, talk about the story in the movie as if it were a book. How did the movie begin? What happened to change things? What was the moment that the problem was solved? How did the movie end?
      • Who were the main characters? Did they change during the movie? How do you know? What do you think these characters will go on to do in the future.
      • For more ideas, check out our KidWrite How to Talk About Story guide.
  2. Audiobooks – Listen to an audiobook with your kids in the car or set them up with an audiobook half an hour before they are supposed to be asleep at night, while they’re taking a bath, or when you need some quiet time to think.
    • There are some excellent books for kids on In particular, there are books that may be a bit above their reading level but totally in line with their interests. When they hear a book like that, it suddenly makes sense that reading might just be a fun thing. A Wrinkle in Time, Harry Potter, Way of the Warrior Kid, The Secret Garden, The Magic Tree House, Jeremy Thatcher Dragon Hatcher, and/or Rascal are some possibilities.
      • Ask your kid to tell you about the book – just the main things that tell the story. Doing this will help your child find the parts of the story that make that story different from other stories in the same genre.
      • Also ask you kid to describe the characters and settings.
  3. Magazines – Subscribe to a magazine geared to your child’s reading ability and interests. It comes in the mail and it’s different every month. There are not only stories and often poems, but usually quizzes and games as well.
    • Cricket Publications has several magazines for different age groups. There are literary magazines with stories, poems, puzzles and jokes, as well as history, science, and social studies magazines. Highlights magazines are also available for different ages. They’re not just for the doctor’s office and will keep your kids busy with stories and word-related activities. If you kid is sports-crazy, try Sports Illustrated Kids. If nature is their thing, the National Wildlife Foundation (NWF) has Ranger Rick and Zoobooks. All of these publications also have online site with activities and more.
      • Just when are your kids going to have time to read these magazines? Set aside one hour a week for family reading time. Everyone can read whatever they’d like; they just have to read.
      • After about 45 minutes, use the rest of the time to share what you’ve read.
  4. Story Rounds – The best words in any language are Once Upon a Time. In the car, at dinner, hanging out – there’s always time to make up a story. You start and set the scene, then turn it over to the kids to take a turn for the next part, and back to you. Tell your kids the idea is to make a complete story, but don’t be surprised if there is a trip to the bathroom or something dying to end the tale – it’s a kid thing – just tell them that’s not where this is going and to try again.
    • so — Once up a time there was a ________. The rest is up to all of you.
  5. Their Day – Ask your kid to tell you about their day and nothing happened it not okay. Ask about lunch and recess or ask what book they’re reading. Help them to tell you about the day in sequence. Helping them to organize their thoughts will help them to write paragraphs and essays that flow.
    • If you kid is the silent type – ask for a step-by-step description of their walk from the classroom to the cafeteria.
    • If you kid is all over the place – gently guide the way to a coherent thing then that then that tale.

I suggest these 5 things because I know they work. And not just for me but also for the families I work with. These kid-friendly ideas will prepare your kids for writing tasks in their future by learning to talk about the stories they see, hear, and create from their activities every day.

The most important thing is to have fun!

Read more Support Your Child: Reading

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