I wrote this short story to describe what kids might expect at an elementary school Valentine's Day class party. I know it often helps my students to get familiar with upcoming events before they happen, as well as expectations for behavior at those events. A social narrative teaches these ideas in a calm and reassuring way. You can download a PDF of my story here:
For more information about writing social narratives for your children or students, I highly recommend this book. I attended a training with the author of this book years ago, and the method is excellent!
To get an idea of your child's writing level, I find it helpful to get a sample of your child's writing and compare it to samples written by children at different grade levels. You'll find the writing samples that your child's writing most closely resembles, and use that a grade-level estimate of your child's current writing skills.
A great resource to help with this is Reading Rockets. On this page, they have writing samples of students in preschool through third grade. You'll want to look at multiple samples from each grade level to see which ones your child's writing matches best with overall.
You may be wondering how to get a writing sample from your child. One option is to give him or her a picture and a blank paper and ask him or her to write a story about the picture or write what's happening in the picture.
Another idea is to have him or her fill in a story graphic organizer to get an idea of what he or she can come up with for a story.
Here are some graphic organizers you can use for a pre-assessment of your child's writing ability. You will want to have your child fill in the form without help. You can point out the description of each section and clarify these descriptions, but don't give your child examples or ideas. It feels weird not to provide help and prompts to help your child learn, but for now, you want to know what your child can do without help.
Whichever method you choose, you'll just want to make sure not to give your child any prompts or help with writing. If my students ask for help, I usually praise them for asking, but gently reassure them that whatever they can write is fine...it's not really a test. It will just help me know what they already know so I can plan what to teach them next.
Once you have an estimation of the grade-level for your child's current writing skills, you can select lesson plans and activities at this level to work on with your child to increase these skills.
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I love this post from "The Mighty." It's a quick read and absolutely worth your time. The comments section on this post is great too!
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