How to Write a Story is a 95-page book full of the essential elements a student needs to craft a well-written fiction story. Geared for grades 4-6, it could easily be used with older students whose writing skills need perking up. The book is divided into five parts: 1) learning the elements of a fiction story: character, setting, plot (which includes the story problem), and conclusion, 2) writing the story step by step, 3) story outlines and webs, 4) writing in different genres (like mysteries and science fiction), and 5) publishing and binding the story.
But How to Write a Story is not for all home schoolers. It is definitely a book designed for those who are teachers at heart and have the time to invest to teach the concepts. Personally, I would have purchased this book for my two oldest when they were this age, as I could have modified the material to meet our home schooling needs. If you have the same “spark” to teach writing and want to put out the bit of extra effort to tweak the instructions to suit your situation, then this book is well worth the reasonable price ($14.99).
I found the book to be complete. It’s all there, waiting to be dived into. There are plenty of reproducible pages to practice creating characters, settings, and plot action; opportunities for brain storming ideas; an outline to keep the story moving instead of rambling; and good explanatory material for experimenting with different fiction genres. All in all, it is a great resource.
A great resource for teachers, that is. How to Write a Story has been created with teachers and classrooms in mind. The opening pages explain “trait-based” writing (a good thing), and provide a two-page, detailed scoring rubric for the students’ stories. The introduction to each part of the book gives lesson plans for the teacher to assist in presenting the concepts. It’s thorough. However, it is not a work-on-your-own book to hand to your child at the beginning of the school year and then expect him to produce the next great American novel by school’s end. This is definitely a “teacher-led” resource.
I found the lesson plans short, succinct, and easy to follow. For the home school co-op teacher who enjoys preparing lessons and leading the class in a traditional manner, this is a wonderful resource to consider. For the home school parent who enjoys working side-by-side with a child who dreams of writing a story (and if you have plenty of time to devote to this one subject), then I also recommend it.