A Week of English – And Story Cubes!

So this year, now Ava is older, we have introduced many new subjects and more variations of certain subjects for her. For instance, English no longer consists of Reading Eggs sessions everyday. Although this was fun and it served its purpose, there was only so much it could provide and it ended up just being a supplement to her English studies so I decided for her we would not continue with the subscription. Having said that, I cant recommend it enough for younger children just learning to read the basics, it gamifies the whole learning experience which makes it less laborious for both parent and child.
So here is how a week of English goes for us at the moment.

Every day of the week we follow the Writing With Ease Workbooks by Susan Wise Bauer. A big recommendation from us for its simplistic scripted lesson plans and worksheets to go with the lessons. She has literally done all the legwork for you so you don’t have to do a thing. Each book has a whole years worth of lessons! 

We also listen to chapters of audio books together daily with breakfast. We might also do this while we are drawing or doing some sort of handcraft. It’s an opportunity for them to hear a variety of different of writing compositions and words along with their correct pronunciations. The theory behind this practice is that even if they don’t understand the literature they’re listening to, the seeds are being sown for future understanding and it will help them to grasp the more complex literature down the line. Essentially we use audio books in place of television and both the girls love it! 

Monday: We follow First Language Lessons by Jessie Wise. I also cannot recommend this book enough. Just like the Writing With Ease books, the lessons are scripted so it makes it nice and simple for parents and each book also has a whole years worth of lessons!

Tuesday: Ava has independent reading, this is simply where she will read a book with literature that’s suited to her ability. She’s really enjoying David Walliams’ books at the moment. She’s almost finished the entire series of his books! 

Wednesday: First Language Lessons by Jessie Wise.

Thursday: First Language Lessons by Jessie Wise. 

And finally,

Friday: I try and make Fridays super fun and relaxed to round off the week and create that ‘It’s the weekend!’ atmosphere, so on Friday we explore creative writing together with the help of Story Cubes. Story Cubes are dice with icons that are designed to prompt story telling. Not only do we love using them for creative writing but we use them for puppet shows, I will use them for bedtime stories and sometimes we will play them as a game and each take it in turns to roll a dice and take it in turns to narrate the story in which direction we’d like. I love Story cubes, they’re so versatile and I love to make learning play based as much as I possibly can. 

 

Here’s how we use them for creative writing.

  1. I like to start by having Ava look at the different genres. We tend to choose one small genre pack or three dice from one of the large genre packs and mix them with five dice from the original pack, the orange one. 
  2. We then roll all the dice at once and set them aside while we look at our story template from Usborne’s Write Your Own Story book.
  3. Then, I’ll ask Ava to place a cube on each prompt on the template.
  4. For help with ideas on key words and settings we use the Story Genres Display Poster Pack from Twinkl, we then set about trying to think of a story to match the icons rolled.

And she ends up creating something like this..

(I have translated the image underneath as I appreciate not everyone will be able to understand her awesome and unique spellings). 

“Once upon a time there was a girl called Emily, she had a pink dress and ginger hair. She lived near a train station that always stopped outside a haunted town. One day Emily got on the train and she got off at the haunted town and a monster appeared. And so she ran into a haunted house but she did not know it was haunted. However as she walked in, the door slammed shut. She was locked in. Then a ghost chased her so she closed the door and locked the ghost in. Eventually she found a key and got out. In the end she never went back to the haunted house again, not even the haunted town. The end.”

I really love how such simple tools can spark imagination to allow children to create such exciting ideas. I’m quite impressed with how her story turned out. She grasped how a story works and was able to create her very own. 

Do you have Story Cubes? If so, how do you use them? We would love to see your ideas as we are always looking for new ways to make learning more fun and exciting for our family. Feel free to share your ideas on our Facebook page or leave a comment below to your website, we’d love to read and follow your journey!

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