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Storyshaping

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By Julia Damassa and Meg Jonesauthors of Storyshaping book and CD-ROM. The ideas, activities and downloads in this article are taken from Julia and Meg’s book and reproduced by kind permission of Yellow Door

Create shared stories through talk, with the help of Storyshapes – a hands-on literacy support tool

Storyshaping resource from Yellow Door

Storyshaping is an inclusive and interactive way to create shared oral stories. Children can explore and invent new places, times, characters, questions and ideas to build a collaborative story, as they express their own ideas and listen to others’ ideas. Using the Storyshapes also develops an awareness of story structure, helping children to sequence and remember their ideas, which will enable them to later put their ideas into writing.

Storyshaping uses five Storyshapes that represent the building blocks for a story: place, time, character, question and idea. These tactile shapes are passed around a small group and used as prompts to build a story through talk. If you do not have a set of Storyshapes available, you can still use these five concepts as prompts for creating a shared story with a group of children. You may find it helpful to display the ‘Story planner’ (available in PowerPoint, SMART Notebooks and Promethean Flipchart files) while you create your story.

Creating your story

Place

Ask the children where their story takes place. Encourage them to respond, and accept all their ideas equally. Repeat their collective ideas back to them, adding descriptive story language where appropriate. You can also ask about the colours, sounds and smells of the place to encourage the use of adjectives for a more vivid description.

Time

Ask the children when the story happens. You could talk about the time of day, the weather, what day of the week or month it is, or if it is a special day.

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Reviews

  1. gweedore
    on 16 February 2010

    story shaping success

    I have recently begun using the story shaping concept with great success. I couldn’t believe how much more confident the children were at writing independently.

    5out of 5