Reading books with simple story lines can help your K-3rd grader become a better writer. Every story has certain key elements: character, setting, problem, solution, beginning, middle, end. But how can you help your child remember these elements and translate them to her writing?
Try tossing some pepperoni!
I’m not talking about a food fight, but a fun writing game for primary kids you can play with two or more players. Here’s how.
Toss the Pepperoni
Prepare the Game
Make the game board: Decorate a large piece of poster board with paint or markers to look like a giant pizza. Cut out the round pizza.
Make the game pieces: Prepare “pepperoni slices” as game pieces to toss onto the pizza. For each player, cut out seven 4-inch circles from sturdy cardboard. To keep the pepperoni pieces separate, use a different color cardboard for each player. (Alternatively, each player can color one side of his game pieces or mark them with a sticker. )Label each set of pieces with the following words, one word per piece: character, setting, problem, solution, beginning, middle, end.
Read a Picture Book
Choose a picture book to read to your child. Make sure there’s a storyline, not merely words or phrases. When finished:
- See if your child can identify the main character of the story.
- Ask her to describe the story’s setting—when and where the events took place.
- Ask her to identify the problem and solution.
- Discuss the beginning, the middle, and the end of the story.
Play the Game
Play a game together with your child to help her remember the important parts of the picture book you just read: character, setting, problem, solution, beginning, middle, and end.
- Place the giant pizza game board on the floor. Use a jump rope or piece of yarn to mark a line where players must stand when attempting to toss their game pieces onto the pizza.
- Take turns tossing game pieces like Frisbees. Before tossing a “pepperoni,” the player must read the word on the circle and give an example from the picture book that corresponds with the word. For instance, before your child tosses her game piece that is labeled “character,” she must name one of the characters in the story.
- The player with the most pepperoni slices on the pizza at the end wins the game.