We all have seen children that are completely engrossed while using LEGO bricks to create scenes rising from their imagination. Did you know that you can build on this interest to assist students with literacy skills?

LEGO has created a kit called StoryStarter that helps students move beyond any fears of putting something down on a blank page. When students use StoryStarter, they are given bricks, figures, plates to build on and software to collaboratively create stories and publish them. StoryStarter helps students focus on the basic structure of the story: who, what, where and when. For any students who have difficulty with generating ideas to start with, the kit also provides spinners to give them concrete ideas. The visual nature of working with LEGO helps them to literally see how a story has three parts: a beginning, middle and end. Because students work on building the scenes before putting their ideas into words, those who typically have trouble with writing a story from scratch discover their creative abilities in a whole new way!

Students work in teams of 2-5, and build the individual scenes for the story collaboratively. The scenes are then photographed and downloaded to use in conjunction with the software. Cartoon bubbles or voice recordings are added to these photographed scenes, and the end result is something that everyone gets excited about. I have also taught students and teachers how to use stop-action photography with this process, resulting in impressive animations that can be shared with others.

Having helped both students and teachers learn how to use LEGO as a resource for literacy, I know how much classrooms benefit from including this resource in their activities. The hands-on approach of working with storytelling in this way helps everyone understand literacy concepts at a deeper level. When the stories are finally published and shared, students have a deep sense of accomplishment in what they have done and feel proud of their work. It is a fantastic way to teach literacy – students have a lot of fun while learning basic skills.

Using LEGO in this way is not confined to writing skills alone. It can be integrated into each of The Daily 5: writing, reading to someone, reading to self, listening to reading and the word of discovery. Creativity and collaborative learning are also encouraged during the process.

If you would like to learn the most effective ways to integrate this amazing resource into your classroom, I can lead a workshop for you or your students. Not only will I walk you through the basics of how to use LEGO (or DUPLO for younger students) to enrich literacy skills, but I will include tips and tricks I have learned over time as I have worked with this approach. Who could have guessed that bricks could be used in such an exciting way to learn how to tell stories?

To book a workshop with Dominic, please use the form on the Contact Me section of this site or call 315-464-0540