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After a long, busy week, you’ve finally carved out some quiet time to help your third grader write that long-overdue first-person story for class, the one on “Our Family Day at the Amusement Park.”
Your child’s teacher has told you how important it is that kids practice this kind of writing often. You know that this is the best way to build up their skills. You’re primed to help—after all, you were there that whole day. How hard can it be to remember Dad hanging off the Tornado ride, or the infamous Corn Dog That Oozed?
But suddenly, everything goes awry. Maybe pen hasn’t even hit paper because your child can’t decide what to write. Maybe the writing has started, but it makes no sense at all. Or maybe your child just can’t seem to sit still long enough to create one sentence after the next.
Sound familiar? Well, there’s good news: you’re not alone, and neither is your kid. In fact, many kids find themselves especially challenged in third grade. This is a time when teachers want them to move from the loose demands of early writing—when the most important goal is just to get words on the page—toward more “self-extending” writing: developing whole ideas and putting them down in a logical way.
Faced with this challenge, don’t be surprised if your child just throws pens. But don’t give up, either: you really can help! Here is a technique called “storyboarding.” Teachers use it to help kids plan what they want to say. It works great at home too! Here’s what to do, step by step: