Wednesday, September 5, 2012



A few years ago I went with a friend to the San Jose Improv Theater to see a particular comedian. It was not so much the man's jokes I was impressed with, but rather, his improvisational skills. How the audience could throw out a comment, and the man's comeback lines were perfectly hilarious. As I sat there (yes, at that moment in the theater) I thought of my preschool children. You might ask, "Where is the connection? :) Well, my thought bubble read, "I wonder if I prompted the children with a story line, "Once upon a time..", WHAT would their response be??" The first time I did this, I was 10x more impressed with the children than those improvisational skills I had recently seen. 

First, I began a process of teaching the children the meaning of a book's "Author" and a book's "Illustrator" and the process of writing a book, etc. When I felt there was some comprehension...I then informed the children that THEY were going to write a storybook for our classroom. 

During group time, I took several sheets of paper and a marker, then prompted the children..."Once upon a time". There was silence for a few seconds until one child rang out..."There was a yellow car!", then a second child rang out.."It was a race car!!"...then I heard, "It had green tires... 

You have to write fast to keep up after that! Yes, you will get contradictions such as "It had green tires", then a line that said, "It had pink tires"...these are  teachable moments when you could stop the children and ask them to think, "Do cars have different color tires?" or take a tally vote, "How many would like the car to have different colored tires?" You will find that the children will brainstorm the issue. My goal was to get every child involved in the process, so, if I noticed one or two quiet children, I would stop the discussion and ask them a direct question, "What do you think should come next?" Most of the time they are eager to respond. 

When all the words and story line were in order, I "illustrated" the book using online clip art from my home computer. (For older children: You can assign a portion of the story line for them to color or draw the illustrations.) Now, add the most important AUTHORS PAGE, it is very important to add every child's name that was present.  Finally, I inserted the pages into sheet protectors and stapled a construction paper cover.

Here is the children's original story...
(2 and 3 years old children)

Be prepared..."their book" will be the #1 pick every time!