Narrative writing – storytelling - is an essential human activity. One of the changes in the new Common Core standards is a shift from reading and writing stories based on fantasy or personal experience to narratives that center more on communicating factual information.
Try these strategies to make this transition easier for your child:
- Talk to your child about how a fact (information that can be verified) is different from an opinion (thoughts about something you like or dislike, generalized beliefs, or judgments about what is good or bad).
- As you read together, help your children find facts and opinions in the story. For example, ask whether a statement such as “Jake was taller than his sister” is fact or opinion and let your child explain why. Later, ask about a statement such as “Madison thinks Arizmendi makes the best pizza in town.”
- If your child currently prefers reading books that emphasize fantasy or imaginative fiction, help him or her find historical fiction or non-fiction books that deal with similar topics.
- Help your child formulate questions to ask others based on your reading. You can start by modeling a question about facts in the story such as, “What was the name of the largest dinosaur that ever lived?” If your children have trouble identifying facts or forming a question, lead them with suggestions like this: Maybe you want to know something about the kind of food dinosaurs ate.”
- Make finding facts fun for your children. Try some online games to get them started:
Helping your child recognize the difference between a fact and an opinion will build valuable narrative writing skills for school and beyond.