preschool · slice of life · writing

Six Pages

“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 firstnext, 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.)

1 of 6
Page 1 of 6
2 of 6
Page 2 of 6
3 of 6
Page 3 of 6


Page 4 of 6
Page 4 of 6
Page 5 of 6
Page 5 of 6
Page 6 of 6
Page 6 of 6

Yep, I’m kvelling.

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18 thoughts on “Six Pages

  1. Wow! You never know what each day will bring! How amazing that she was able to tell such a long and detailed story and then capture it all on the pages! Your timing in the slice was impeccable because at some points I held my breath to see what would happen next (following Isabelle’s ups and downs in her writing interest).

    1. She’s still unpredictable, but her enthusiasm has been increasing recently. I hope it continues once she starts writing her own words, which I think will be a struggle for awhile due to her CAS. She still mispronounces a lot of words. When kids with CAS are told to stretch out a word to spell it, it is hard. (Read: Not a good strategy for kids with CAS.) We shall see what next year brings!

  2. Loved the car conference and the oral rehearsal. I use the strategy of telling a story across fingers, too, – great for retellings of stories read as well as written. Isabelle’s artwork is amazing! It is so amazing how a young writer like this has the stamina and interest to write six pages. I think choice has so much to do with engagement! Thanks for a great way to start my Tuesday, Stacey!

  3. We have thought a lot about how the number of pages seems to scaffold the story. They are so concrete – if it is not stapled they don’t see how the pages can connect, but if there are only 3 pages they think it has to end there. We have tried have different types of books and adding pages. So fun to see how their brains work!
    Great story!

  4. So many changes in such a short time! Isabelle is growing so fast and seems to be genuinely interested in telling her stories – she gets it!

  5. Wow, progress. I think you’re work is making changes, Stacey, with Isabelle & all the others. That “pre-writing” talk must help too, then Isabelle became a mentor for her classmates! Very cool!

  6. Aw, I love this. Makes me miss little writers (just for a moment). I also appreciate the word I just learned, kvell. It’s great that other kids noticed you can make your story longer. Isabelle was a little mentor today.

  7. This is awesome. Your daughter is a writer willing to learn and stretch herself. You are a knowledgeable guide in thoughtfully nudging her forward.

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