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It’s Time for a DIY Story

A number of the first reading milestones focus on children's imagination, and their interest in stories, books and illustrations. This reading activity is about turning story time into a collaborative exercise in imagination and creativity.

What you will need:

Preparing the activity

Preparing this activity is very straight forward, if a little time consuming. As the resources you prepare can be re-used indefinitely, it might be worth persuading some kind colleagues to give you a hand.

You need to print, cut out and laminate the individual characters, landscapes, buildings and objects which will be used in the activity. Each one also needs a piece of magnetic tape on the back so it can stick to your board.

Once you've assembled all your cut outs, it is worth sorting them into their different categories, and placing them into separate tubs, boxes or bags ready for the children.

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Doing the activity:

This activity works well with anything from one child, to a group of six or eight engaged preschoolers. With the children sat with you in front of the board, explain that it's time for a story, but there's a problem. You haven't got a book, only this board, and there's no story on it for you to tell. The children are going to have to create the story.

Starting with your tub of people and/or animals, ask a child to select a character for the start of your story. Get the group of suggest a name for the character, and stick them onto the board. Repeat the process with a place for the character to be, and something for them to be holding.

How the activity proceeds depends very much on the children involved. You can help them along as necessary by creating some new story, or you can allow them completely free rein to create a narrative. Keep adding, and moving illustrations around on the board to reflect the story. It can be helpful to pause every now and again to recap the story so far, using the illustrations to re-tell the story back to the children.

Tracking the activity

30 - 50 months

Literacy, Reading; "Beginning to be aware of the way stories are structured"

Literacy, Reading; "Suggests how the story might end"

Literacy, Reading; "Listens to stories with increasing attention and recall"

Literacy, Reading; "Describes main story settings, events and principal characters"

Literacy, Reading; "Shows interest in illustrations in books"