“Are you coming to help me and my friends write books this morning?” a little voice asked from the backseat.
“Yes, I am,” I replied.
“Oh good,” Isabelle said.
“Do you have a story in mind?” I inquired.
“Yes,” she said.
“Will you tell it to me?”
“Sure,” Isabelle replied. She told a detailed story about the day she went to Sky Zone & Wegman’s with her friends. Everything she rattled off was in chronological order. She even used transition words like first, next, and then to frame her story. I was impressed!
I complimented Isabelle as I drove. I threw in a tip, which was to use specific words like “trampoline” and “foam pit” rather than saying “jumped on the thing.” She liked that idea.
I realized, as I continued to drive, that Isabelle’s story had more than three parts. “How many pages do you think your story will be?” I asked.
“I dunno,” she replied.
“Would you mind if I retell the story across my fingers when we get to the traffic light?”
“Sure!” she said.
Once I stopped at the light — which is almost three minutes long — I retold Isabelle’s story across my fingers. I had six fingers raised when I finished. “I think it’s six parts. Did I miss anything?”
“You got it all, Mommy.”
“Then I think you’ll need six pages to tell your story.”
“That’s a lot of paper. I only get three-page books.”
“You can write across as many pages as you need to, Isabelle. I’m the one who usually makes the books and it sounds like you need more pages. We’ll make a six-page book for your story, okay?”
“Okay,” she said.
And sure enough, she wrote a six-page story during writing time today. (And, in fact, I encouraged some of her peers, who told me longer stories when they told them aloud to me, to try writing longer books too. Most of them were excited to “write” longer.)
Yep, I’m kvelling.