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Reading Eggs Feature Focus: The Story Factory

Reading Eggs Feature Focus: The Story Factory

Reading before writing? Writing before reading? It’s a “did the chicken or the egg come first?” type of quandary. As educators, we know that reading and writing go hand in hand. Research shows that regular reading helps students become strong writers, just as practice in writing helps students build strong reading skills. We can probably also agree that writing well does not come naturally for many students. It is an acquired skill that needs time and experience to develop and mature.

So, how do we get our students comfortable with and adept at writing? Simply put, start early—the earlier the better. Writing is a crucial life skill. Whether students are collecting their thoughts for a research paper, creating a cover letter, or even simply writing a thank-you note or email, they need to know how to write well in a wide variety of situations and for a variety of audiences.

What can teachers do to help their students become strong writers? Online tools can help provide students with critical opportunities to practice reading comprehension, grammar, and composition. Managing writing assignments online also helps students create a digital portfolio of their writing and see the evolution of their own skills. Today’s students are very comfortable with technology, and it’s the environment where they will learn and work.

The value of online tools in writing curriculum was reiterated to me when I had the opportunity to work with a group of pre-K and kindergarten teachers looking to expand their usage of Reading Eggs, Edmentum’s literacy program for pre-K through 6th grade. For early learners, the key benefits that online tools can offer for building writing skills are engagement and practice, both of which are central to Reading Eggs. With this in mind, I introduced them to the Story Factory.

What is the Story Factory?

This feature scaffolds the writing process for young students, helping them craft their own stories around a particular weekly theme as they practice fundamental skills. When students enter the Story Factory, they start on the Factory Floor, where the topic of the week is presented. Upon jumping in, students get a glimpse at what the story process will look like.

Step one allows students to select and order illustrations to help set the direction of how their story will unfold. After selecting a title in step two, it’s time to start writing. Students are encouraged to fill the pages with ideas and events that relate back to their chosen illustrations. Lists of sample words and phrases are available to help develop the setting, identify characters, and sequence events in the story. There are even hints at the top of the screen about what to include on a page, like “What happened next?” or “How does your story end?” to aid in the writing process. After final design selections are made in step four, the Story Factory digital presses start to run for publication in step five.

How is writing rewarded in Reading Eggs?

When your young writers complete their stories step six allows them to save their published work in their avatar’s house for later rereading. Additionally, they can print their stories to be shared in class or at home. Students even have the chance to submit their stories to the Reading Eggs Weekly Contest, in which students across the country can vote for their favorite selection, and the winner receives a reward in the form of 200 Golden Eggs (which can then be spent on games or avatar accessories)!

The Story Factory can help support even your most reluctant readers as they find a clear path toward becoming published authors! Maybe those first stories are only pictures with just a few words, but with time, your budding writers will bloom. Imagine having your students feeling so comfortable with writing that your next assignment elicits grins instead of groans. Early immersion in the writing process through exciting weekly submissions with the Reading Eggs Story Factory will build student skills as well as confidence. Who knows? The next New York Times bestselling author might be getting his or her start in the Story Factory!

Interested in learning more about how Reading Eggs can help your students grow as writers and readers? Learn about how Reading Eggs can work in your Daily 5 Literacy Framework.

This blog post was originally published on February 16, 2016.

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Madison Michell

Madison Michell has been a member of the Edmentum team since 2014 and currently serves as a Marketing Manager. As a former Kindergarten and 3rd grade teacher during her time as a Teach For America corps member, she believes education truly has the power to transform lives. She is passionate about connecting educators with online programs, best practices, and research that improve teaching and learning for today's students.