Be the Superhero of Your Own Epic! Story
Writing Brave in a Fearful Time
This past week, I took some time out of my three and a half jobs/commitments to indulge in one of my other passions - acting goofy on a camera! I was honored to be selected by Epic! Books to participate in their Epic! Live Facebook series. You can check out all of the Epic! Live videos HERE, including:
Episode 15: Be the Superhero of Your Own Epic! Story
Take your child’s biggest fears, add in their favorite superhero or heroine’s story, and tick off this week’s writing goals all at the same time! Join young adult author and school-based speech-language pathologist, Tara K. Ross as she guides kids of all ages through writing themselves into their scariest moments. Her super-hero inspired tool-kit is powered by her knowledge of story grammar/goo, mental health, self-regulation, and her own experiences with crafting magical realism fiction.
Here is a summary of all the important bits from the video:
What you will need:
A few of your favorite books- books that you wish you could in!
Something to write on - paper, notebook, tablet, computer (A great app suggestion that I love to use is: Explain Everything-Whiteboard )
Superhero or magical costume
Magical tools or props
A scruffy stuffy
Step 1: Read Amazing books
Choose books that have heroes or heroines you admire, or books that have a really scary problem or villain that you want to conquer
Read these books again OR choose a favorite section for older students, but this time look for the Story Grammar, affectionately called Story Goo.
Step 2: Make Your Own Story Goo (Character, Setting, Problem)
Make yourself into the superhero
Turn your fear into a character (i.e. the villain)
Create your world (setting)
Add a scary problem that you want to conquer
RESOURCE: Here is an excellent article from the Child Mind Institute about How to Help Children Manage Fears (and talk about them)
Step 3: Insert Yourself into the Story Goo (Action, Reaction, Resolution)
Divide a paper or whiteboard into four or more sections. Label each section:
If you are an older student you can include more middle sections or consider using the storyboard feature of Explain Everything.
Search out some fabulous strategies (the tools and magic) to help you fight your baddies! (Look to the bottom for some suggested links)
Step 4: Writing your Scruffy Draft
Take all the drawings and jot notes from above and begin to write your first messy draft.
Make sure to spend time talking about how your body feels when you meet your villain, how it feels to use some of your magical tools, and what your body and mind feel like afterward.
Step 5: Make Your Story Shine!
This will look different depending on your age.
If you are in kindergarten, work on those final drawings, add lots of color and details, and have your parents help with sounding out some of your favorite words to include in simple sentences.
If you are in primary grades, don't forget things like capitals and periods. Make sure you can read back your work, and including strong action words and vivid describing words.
If you are in junior grades or above, vary your sentence structures, include lots of descriptions that span the senses, show us emotional responses, and include exciting dialogue.
FINALLY, Share your story with someone you love! If you are really proud of your creation, I'd love to read it as well! Check with your parents, and if they are okay, feel free to send me your shining final drafts through my contact page below or directly to my email, firstname.lastname@example.org.
I will choose one fantastic story about an Epic! kid conquering their fears and share it during my own book launch for Fade to White on May 30, 2020, around 7:30 E.S.T on Instagram Live. Here is my Instagram handle if you want to tune in: @tara.k.ross
A final challenge is to encourage your older siblings (i.e. those crazy teenagers), and your parents to also try this activity! Writing about our own fears and anxieties is a great way to process some of the haunting voices in our heads. It was such a cathartic exercise for me!
Here are some of the fabulous resources I have used to help kids building strategies to face their fears:
Child Mind - https://childmind.org/ - they have excellent articles on managing fears, and developing self-regulation skills
The Mehrit Centre (and resources by Dr. Stuart Shanker) - https://self-reg.ca/blog
Taming Sneaky Fears: Leo the Lion's Story of Bravery & Inside Leo's Den: the Workbook - This is a 10-week therapy program coming out of the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Canada and is specifically focused towards the fear of speaking.
NOTE: Not every childhood fear is something that parents should tackle on their own. If you are finding that your child's fears are affecting their ability to participate in their everyday life on a regular basis, then you may want to seek additional assistance. I have some great Mental Health resources, focused more toward teens, located HERE
PLEASE NOTE: In no way was I paid or compensated for sharing about Epic! or any of these resources. I just think they are doing fabulous work and wanted to share. Cause, sharing is caring, right?