Ever notice how many “early reading” books have phrases that repeat over and over? You may remember, for example, classics like “Brown Bear, Brown Bear,” or “The Three Little Pigs.” Turns out that these books are more than just cute: reading patterned stories with repeated sentence structure or refrains builds important reading skills, including word recognition, prediction skills, memory skills, and knowledge of sentence structures. And of course patterned stories are still lots of fun. Even beginning readers can predict the text and join in on the reading fun!
Encourage your kindergartener to read and re-read a favorite patterned story so that she can build confidence as a reader, and become an expert on the story. That’s when the fun begins. Now she can use a similar pattern to create her own patterned story – perhaps even one about her family!
What You Need:
- Digital camera
- glue or tape
- blank paper
What You Do:
- Choose a favorite patterned story (one with repeated text on each page) that your child has enjoyed reading in the past, such as Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, by Bill Martin, Jr. or the always popular Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss. Re-read it with your child and invite her to join in. Be sure she is comfortable with the pattern of the story.
- Invite her to take the same pattern from the story, and replace some words to make it a new story. For example, try inserting family member’s names into the text. In a story like Brown Bear, it might sound like this: “Mommy, Mommy, what do you see?” Practice this out loud with her to see what fun ideas she can come up with.
- After she has an idea for her story, provide her with blank paper and a pencil, and invite her to begin writing her story. Encourage her not to worry too much about spelling, but to get the words down on paper. Continue in this manner, until she is satisfied that the text of the story is done.
- Now assist her in taking digital pictures of the family to match the text. Have fun! The whole family gets to be actors and play out each scene in order to help her get just the right photos! Print and crop the pictures as needed, and glue or tape them onto the pages.
- Finally, have her read her new version to a younger sibling, a relative, or a friend. Don't be surprised if her friend joins in on the reading fun, too!
Liana Mahoney is a National Board Certified elementary teacher, currently teaching a first and second grade loop. She is also a certified Reading Specialist, with teaching experience as a former high school English teacher, and early grades Remedial Reading Instructor.