Thursday, July 24, 2014

Social stories
Raise your hand, those of you who have summers "off" and spend a lot of your free time on social media.  I'm waving my hand high in the air, right along with you.

As is often the case, my morning walk spurred some thoughts, and this morning's walk in the rain got me thinking about my summertime Facebook hobby.  (Let's call it a hobby; addiction seems too strong a word for a seasonal pursuit!)  I read a lot on Facebook--my friends' updates from around the world, book reviews from my summer reading book groups, news reports, professional learning articles, funny memes.  Politics, literature, education, arts, and entertainment all contained within my daily newsfeed.

And all of these are stories.  Stories about trials, tribulations, and triumph.  Stories about the mundane routines of daily living, and the struggle to make sense of our rapidly expanding sense of global culture.  Stories about the wonders and exhaustion of parenting, the letting go of relationships and the burying of loved ones.  

These stories encapsulated in posts and comments are great seeds for writing!  Just last night, a friend who was posting in the wee hours of this morning (figure that one out, young student readers!) was lamenting over his insomnia and asking for lullabies.  The ensuing comments and links were heartfelt, hilarious, and historical, as commentators went from sleep suggestions to stories of their connections with the friend.  As I walked this morning, I thought about that thread, and what fun it would be to write a story about someone who couldn't sleep, asked for advice from his friends far and near, and then tried out their suggestions.  It would be a great interactive story for an e-reader, with links to recordings of lullabies and read-alouds, just as they were presented in the Facebook thread.

In special education, social stories are used to help students picture themselves in social situations so they can navigate them in an appropriate manner.  With story seeds from social media, we can give students yet another source of inspiration for their writing, one with which they literally connect.

Go ahead; check your Facebook feed.  Only now look at it with a writer's eye.  What stories are playing out on your screen today?  


  1. Not only would I love to read that book, I'd buy a copy for my library! Whatcha' waiting for? Go write!

    1. I'd have to edit it for a juvenile audience, Paulette! ;-) For now, it will go into my writing ideas folder. I'll be sure to let you know if it gets fleshed out to a story!