Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Tell Me a Story!

Ben when he was a baby, "reading" his book.
Today, while in the car with Ben, I was trying to think of a way to include him in a conversation. He normally prefers to sit in the backseat and not participate, but I am trying to push him to be more involved. I then remembered a game that my mom used to play with us in the car when we were kids and decided to give it a try. I call it "Tell Me a Story."

I am sure most adults have played this game at some point in time. It starts with the adult starting the story. You say one or two sentences to set the scene and then it is the child's turn to add to it. They add a sentence or two and then it is the next person's turn. You continue until you decide that the story is finished. It's a super easy game and was one of my favorite things to do in the car when I was a kid. Today, I decided to try it with Ben. Here is our story:

Me: "Once upon a time, there was a little boy named Ben who likes to climb trees."

Ben: "Ben and his little sister and their mother went to the store. The end."

Me: "Ummm... no. It's not done yet. When they got to the store, something happened."

Ben: "They looked at trucks and found a fantastical pick-up truck."

Me: "The pick-up truck was magical. It grew really big... big enough for Ben and his sister to sit in! They got inside it."

Ben: "Then it turned into a magical fire engine! Then they took it! The bad guy people! Ben and his sister chased them and got it back!"

Me: "After they got back the fire truck, they heard a fire alarm!"

Ben: "The magical fire engine put out the pretend fire. It wasn't a real fire."

Me: "They saved people from the pretend fire."

Ben: "They saved Daddy and Mommy and Andrew. The end."

Not too bad for our first attempt at creating a story. Plus, it got Ben involved, using his imagination and speech. He also had to pay attention and use auditory processing skills to know what to add to the story. Yes, he decided to try and end the story after one sentence. Yes, he casually ignored the climbing tree plot that I tried to introduce. Yes, he defaulted to trucks and fire fighting (his obsessions) in order to complete the story. But, he was able to use his imagination to add to it. It wasn't just a retelling of something that happened in the past. I think that's great progress for a 5 minute car ride that would normally be spent with me asking easy questions with him giving me 1 or 2 word answers to just appease me. This is definitely going to be a new tactic in my arsenal.

I am also going to use this activity to help with creative writing. We are just beginning our writing program for this school year and I am constantly looking for writing prompts to help him develop. He has a difficult time retelling anything without prompts and usually has a difficult time coming up with stories on his own. This will be a great in between step that will help him to develop those skills.

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