A write good read

27th June 1997 at 01:00
Story Writing. By Philip Bowditch. Scholastic Teacher Timesavers Pounds 9.99.

How many primary teachers over the years have come to bless Scholastic's Teacher Timesavers? Here is a highly servicable publication from a teacher with years of experience. The activities are based not only on a knowledge of what works, but also on an understanding of narrative, the trains of thought needed to turn the great mess of events in life into consecutive stories.

There are 15 sections. The first block concerns features needed for all narrative - story-types, openings, settings, characters, events and how they might develop, and endings.

Next come sections on story types - scary, crime, historical and the like. Essentially, there is a block of activities on the writing process - redrafting and language skills placed in a context of purpose so their point becomes clear.

Finally, and most usefully, is a block of pro-formas to help children with all the other activities. The whole is preceded by a commentary for the teacher which places children's story-writing in the context of their reading and story-sharing.

The book seems dedicated to the important proposition that readerly writers make writerly readers - that reading and writing are different sides of the same coin, and sharing in the processes of the authors they read and listen to connects children with the tradition. The difference is of degree, not kind, and if we want a literate generation we need a literary one as well.

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