If you've ever heard the words "I don't know what to write about," the WriteShop StoryBuilder Cards might be the solution for your kids. Appropriate for kids k-12, the StoryBuilders are printable cards in four categories, (characters, traits, setting, and plot). The cards are sold in an e-book format that you print on cardstock and cut out. Different colors are used for each type of card (either different colored paper or different colored font). There are four different sets, Animals, People, Sports, and Christmas.
I received the Christmas and Animal sets. The Christmas set has 92 cards (all non-religious things like snowman, reindeer, old woman) and the Animal set has 192 cards, plus some blank ones to add your own words. We used the cards several different ways. Sometimes we drew cards from each deck randomly, sometimes I let the kids look through and choose different story elements. Sometimes we wrote out the stories, sometimes we told them out load, and a few times the boys even worked together to make a story and tell it to us with puppets.
These have been great for getting the creative juices flowing and helping my boys branch out from the same story elements that they use over and over (like someone getting shot with a bow and arrow or eaten by a dragon). As we've used them, I've noticed Ryan (8) pulling some of the character traits or ideas into his writing from previous days or taking his story in a completely different direction. His favorite story was supposed to use boa constrictor, daring, forest, and learns to fly. You can read it here. This is great improvement for a boy who thought 50 words was a lot for a story back in September. (This one is 126 words.)
You can access Writeshop's store here where the StoryBuilders are sold for $7.95 for the animal, people or sports set and $3.95 for the Christmas set. The sets are completely different and can be combined. However, I found that one set gave us plenty of ideas to work with.
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