Choose your own adventure

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By Fiona FreerYear 4 teacher With thanks to my class – Year 4, Abbey School, Torquay

Turn story writing into an adventure by letting your class decide what should happen next…

choose your adventure

Writing stories is a difficult activity, mainly because there is so much for children to remember. They must maintain a consistent narration in the first or third person, describe their settings and evoke an atmosphere, and explain what their characters are like and how they react to events. They must also remember to use punctuation correctly, choose interesting vocabulary, and organise their narrative in paragraphs. As well as all this, they have to create an original and imaginative story – a task most adults would fi nd challenging.

When I decided to base a week’s literacy work on the ‘choose your own adventure’ books, I didn’t realise that this approach would provide my class with a supportive framework in which to develop their own ideas, and the opportunity to concentrate on just one objective at a time. The result was a week of great fun and a wonderful set of stories.

The ‘choose your own adventure’ books start with a traditional opening, but the reader can then decide what happens next from a list of options, turning to the appropriate page to read on. I decided to give my class a selection of different settings and characters, and then a list of problems to choose from. Finally, they would be able to choose an ending. I knew from my previous assessments that most of them needed to work on their use of paragraphs, so this was our main objective for the week.

Monday

I gave each child a copy of our story beginning, and we used this as our shared reading text (see ‘Shared reading text’ activity sheets). I had tried to create a dreary, dismal atmosphere with three children playing half-heartedly in a park on a drizzly day. I thought this would contrast well with the vibrant adventures that were about to begin! The extract ended with Harry, George and Molly careering off the end of the slide into a totally different place. The children had four destinations to choose from:

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