Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Creating A Story

Every Friday afternoon, I spend half an hour or so reading to a class of mentally disabled children.  These children are severely mentally disabled and some of them don't even talk.  What makes my task more challenging is coming up with stories for them.

So far I've created two, one about an enormous potato and a ghost story. 

I'm sure you will know that children need repetition to learn, as do many adults if truth be told, but with these children the repetition has to be taken several steps higher.  I need to repeat the story not just in one lesson, but across several weeks.

This may make writing and telling easier, but it can lead to boredom in me and the children.

What helps is having different props each week, exploring a different part of the story.  For the ghost story we had torches to shine and blankets to hide under one week, along with some sound effects.  The teacher has bought some other Halloween stuff for the children (and staff) to use for this week. Trying these different things helps us and the children.

It's an approach that writers can use when creating a story. 

Having trouble with a scene?  If it's vital, try seeing it from a different POV or bring something extra into it.  Try different ways to see what works, change the setting, the furniture, the room, the clothes someone is wearing...or not wearing.  What sounds are going on in the background?  What smells?

Try something different while keeping the main story the same.

Children are great teachers, if we observe and learn.


Lisa Shafer said...

Hey, that's cool that you do that with the kids. And, yes, I have to repeat a lot even with the regular kids AND the gifted ones that I teach. It does indeed help if one comes at it from different angles each time. :)

Cindy Keen Reynders said...

That's awesome you read to the children. It is so good for them!

Kelley Lynn said...

Wow! You are such a good person. That is so wonderful.

Alexia said...

What an excellent thing to do, Martin!

Martin Willoughby said...

Lisa: Multiply that for those with sever learning difficulties. The patience their teachers have is amazing.

Cindy: They seem to enjoy it. They even smile sometimes.

Kelley: (BLUSH)


Caitlin said...

That is really wonderful that you take the time to serve your community like that! Thanks for the tip, I'm currently entering a re-write and will probably have to do this.

Martin Willoughby said...

Caitlin: It's a tip I've picked up over the years.