Years ago, when I taught preschool music, I used a book called Piggyback Songs quite a bit. To create a piggyback song, you write new lyrics to a familiar tune (“Twinkle, Twinkle”, etc.). I adopted the name “piggyback” and adapted it for writing. Piggyback Stories is what I call them and kids really do enjoy writing them. ALuv (currently 6.5 years old) has been working on one this week that I wanted to share.
1. First, we read and re-read The Enormous Turnip & The Enormous Watermelon. (This Russian folktale has taken piggyback forms of its own with The Enormous Potato, The Giant Carrot, The Giant Cabbage, etc.)
2. Then, I told him I wanted to see if he could write a piggyback story. What would he call it? “The Enormous ??”. We brainstormed some ideas together-what he could grow and who would be in his story. I wrote down a list for him from our brainstorming session.
3. To help ease his need for perfection the first time (an inherited trait, I’m afraid to say), we discussed a “sloppy copy”.
I showed him one of my sloppy copies from the latest Phonics by The Book reader. It blew his mind how messy it was. 🙂
4. He started writing…The Enormous Carrot.
He didn’t want to stop. Made my heart proud! (It took him 2 writing sessions to do this, about 45 minutes to an hour total.) I did step in occasionally to help him remember the “rhythm” or structure of the book and apply that to his own writing.
5. I edited his work. I helped him with conventions (mainly punctuation and capitalization) and some spellings.
Some Additional Ideas for “Piggyback” Stories
Folktales make some of the best material for piggyback stories because
- the story structure is predictable in nature (repetitive language; such as The Little Red Hen-“Who will help me?”…”Not I!”…”And she did.”; good always wins; etc.)
- there’s usually more than one version of the story (see the list below)
When you ask a child to write a piggyback story, it helps…
- to read at least two versions of the story to him
- for the child to be very familiar with the story line or structure of the story, so read and re-read the story(ies) several times
- to point out and discuss the predictability of the story with the child. This fosters comprehension (for example, see if he can predict what will happen next).
- to brainstorm ideas together; possibly create one yourself or together first to give the child support
Examples of some folk tales (and their “piggybacks”)
- The Little Red Hen (The Little Red Hen Makes a Pizza, Manana Iguana, It’s my Birthday)
- The Gingerbread Man (The Gingerbread Boy, Gingerbread Baby, The Gingerbread Cowboy, The Stinky Cheese Man)
- Goldilocks and the Three Bears (Believe Me, Goldilocks Rocks!)
- The Three Little Pigs (The Three Pigs, The Three Little Wolves and the Big, Bad Pig)
This post was linked to For the Kids Fridays.
Thanks and God bless,
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