If cabin fever is at an all-time high in your home, grab a pen or pencil and try this fun story-writing activity with your child! It is geared toward children in grades 5 and up, but could be a good fit for gifted and talented children in grades 3 and 4.
By the time children reach middle school, they know how to create narrative, informational, and opinion compositions. They've progressed from learning the alphabet to understanding the importance of format and organization.
Now ask your child to take a step back and write a 26-word alphabetical story.
This unusual activity is designed to engage children by exercising their creativity and linguistic skills.The story must be 26 words long, and the first letter of each word must follow the sequence of the alphabet. For example, the beginning of a story could be, "A baby can do everything fast."
Take a look at this graphic to get a better sense of how an ABC-order story is written. (Activity continues below.)
What Students Can Learn from This Activity
Although writing a 26-word story in alphabetical order may seem like a silly activity to your child, it exercises a range of skills. Some of the skills it targets include:
- Writing concisely and choosing words carefully.
- Exercising and developing vocabulary.
- Being creative under the constraints of guidelines.
- Drafting and editing.
- Following alphabetical order.
- Using reference materials such as dictionaries, thesauruses, and online resources.
Start with a Story Idea
Like with any writing exercise, kids need to pick out an idea or topic before they start writing. Consider the approaches below to begin:
- Describe a person, place, or thing.
- Explain an historical event.
- Write about a favorite activity or hobby.
- Create a conversation between two people.
- Summarize a folktale or fairy tale.
- Write a story about a holiday or season.
After your child narrows down his or her topics, have him or her create a broad outline that describes the beginning, middle, and end of the story. An outline will help your child think ahead and stay organized while writing.
Try These ABC-Order Story-Writing Tips
Choosing words for a story in alphabetical order is a challenge, so it’s normal to get stuck sometimes. If this happens, your child can try using:
- the name of a person or location
- an onomatopoetic word, such as "ugh," "ha-ha," or "meow"
- a word in another language
- words that don’t start with the letter but emphasize its sound, such as "eXtra" for the letter X
- dialogue, which can break up a story and add variety
Encourage kids to be creative and take risks to write their stories. Erasing some words and trying again is part of the process.
Have Fun with Story Exercises
After completing the 26-word story, consider trying some of these modifications:
- Create illustrations for certain words or sections of your story.
- Give the story a title, using 3–6 words in alphabetical order.
- Instead of creating a story, write down the first word that comes to mind for each letter, going in alphabetical order. Read the words aloud and see how they sound.
- Try the activity just above with a friend, taking turns with adding words to the story. Write them down and see how the story turns out!
Can you come up with a 26-word alphabetical story? Share your compositions with us in the comments!
Connections Education is a leading, fully accredited provider of high-quality, highly accountable virtual education solutions for students in grades K–12 offering tuition-free online public school, full-time and part-time private school programs, blended learning high school programs and digital learning solutions for schools. Connections Education is part of the global learning company Pearson.
About the Author
A busy writer, crafter, and mom, Beth Werrell regularly shares her insights about education and family life—mostly gained from 20/20 hindsight—on the Virtual Learning Connections blog.