Wednesday, September 12, 2012

First steps to writing: A beginner's story

As parents, we are always waiting with bated breath for that first step towards literacy. There is an immense sense of pride when the child is motivated to read and write by herself.

Recently, Anjali has stopped spending hours in front of the mirror doing her hair, but instead spends hours in front of the reading nook, taking book by book out from the shelf, flipping, sometimes readinig the pages, sometimes looking at the pictures and then piling them up on the other side. When she is finished with the ptocess, a whole bunch of books lay scattered on the floor near the reading nook.

Anjali has also started writing stories I had blogged a couple of weeks ago about her story of sea creatures. Here is her latest attempt at story writing

It began with a single picture, of mummy and daddy getting married - notice the fancy dress and tiara. We commented on the picture and Anjali showed me how she drew it. But the next picture was different from the first one, and quite suddenly, out of the blue, came the idea of writing a story, with one picture on each tile. 


Here is the video that i took which showws clearly how the gears whirred
Then all that was pending was for the rest of the story to be illustrated. Anjali got to work speedily
And I invited her to tell the story, but to my surprise, she wanted to write the words herself. Here are the words, and the spellings of them
Mummy was married
Mummy had a baby (Notice the big belly and the figure sitting on the chair, which is not the baby, but daddy working on the computer)
Daddy loved his baby (daddy and baby on a chair)
I was sleeping and mummy and daddy were thinking which school to put me in. 
(I must confess that I was surprised by this sentence, because it showed thinking and inference beyond the illustration. Notice again that mummy's belly is getting bigger)
I was a seahorse.

And the belly is the biggest ever

Sophia is born

This, according to Anjali, was book 1, and book 2 was to follow at some point of time.

Here she is, flushed with her victory

And a bit of story reading.

A few words on encouraging creative writing:I have noticed that Anjali never likes to use the same medium twice continuously. She might have gotten it from me, because I never like to do the same thing twice (ask husband about how I distort a very good recipe in this name). So if we work on a particular medium, when I feel that the girls are starting to get bored of it, I usually shove it aside and facilitate something new. It could be something as awesome as a cardboard easel of a puppet theatre, The point is, kids get bored of toys when they have exhauseted its learning value at the current time in their journey.

I could go on forever about how home made toys fill in this gap by expanding the repertoire of learning values offered to the child, but I wont get into it right now. Back to learning. So we understand that Anjali, as do many children, does not like to work on the same medium too much. A mini book is fine for a couple of times, but sometimes you require a lot of space for expression, and new materials. For instance, when we did the illustrations of the hungry caterpillar for Sophia, we had the paintings done on the easel using very bright poster colors.  So when there is a requirement for more space, we make the space available.

I know there is controversy with allowing children to draw on floors and walls. A group of people claim that encouraging children to draw on paper enables them to respect the monetary value of property and be responsible about and not vandalize their belongings. Another group claims that drawing on the walls and floor curbs the child's creativity. Yet another group takes a mid point view of taping large pieces of paper to the wall and floor and allow the child to paint on them. I have done this myself when painting large murals directly on the wall, to great effect. But in principle, I belong to the second group for two reasons.

One is that walls can be painted and everything, but the child is a child only once.

And the second is, inevitably, it is you against the child when it comes to drawing on the walls and the floor. And the child always wins, as a friend who has covered the lower walls of her house in plastic sheets can testify.

Anyway, if you cant beat them, join them. It is better all around.

1 comment:

  1. I hope it was a beautiful day with so much accomplished by Anjali. I truly loved her story and her illustrations. Infact I loved the originality. Beautiful post and a lot of sensible words. Hope you have many more such mesmerising days with your little ones...


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