- a tape recorder and cassette of a favorite children's story
- drawing paper
- crayons, markers, paper scraps, and glue
- a bell or a xylophone
- a large (gallon-size) zipper-lock plastic bag
Objective: Children will develop language skills, fine-motor skills, and creativity as they collaborate to write and record a group story.
To prepare: At group time, show children the tape recorder. Ask them if they know what it is and what it does. Look at the various parts together and talk about how the machine operates. Encourage children to record their own voices. Add yours to the tape and then play it back and listen together.
Warm-up: Listen to a story on a cassette. Then talk about how children can write and record their own books to listen to at school and take home to share with their families. Ask children to think about what they will need to do to accomplish this goal.
1 Help children work together to pick a topic or title for their book - dogs, airplanes, butterflies - anything of particular interest to them. Encourage each child to draw a picture that relates to the topic. Remember that not everyone will spend the same amount of time on their drawings and that some may prefer to use collage materials rather than crayons or markers. Collect the drawings and bring them to group time.
2 Explain to children that you are going to record each of them on tape as they talk about their pictures. Designate someone to make a bell tone before each person speaks and remind them that this is what happens on most story cassettes to tell the listeners when to turn the page. When everyone has had a chance to record, listen to the recording together and ask each child to hold up his drawing as you listen to that portion of the tape. Tell children that they will be able to take the
3 book and tape home to share with their families. Talk a bit about special caring-and-sharing rules for the book and cassette. Use the plastic bag as a carrier. This activity provides children with a wonderful opportunity to bring the voices of their classmates into their home environment.
Spin-off: Children can make individual books and cassettes of their own stories, favorite tales, and even songs to share at home and at school. Keep these in a listening center and develop a check-out system everyone can use.
This activity originally appeared in the March 1999 issue of Early Childhood Today.