- 1). Talk with the child about how he would like to write this personal history. One may want to write in first person so the autobiography sounds like she's writing in a diary. Another may wish to tell his story as an observer (third person). Get examples of both types of autobiographies from the library so your child understands the difference.
- 2). Interview your child to capture intimate details about her life that will help flesh out the autobiography. Ask about pets (living and dead), favorite foods, vivid memories, best friends, accomplishments, perspectives on travels and school. Probe for anything that might make this work a meaningful compilation of her milestones.
- 3). Work with your child to develop a timeline so he has a sense of history about his past and understands how to insert family members into it when he composes the story. If, for example, a grandparent was born elsewhere or became a successful lawyer, use these details so each person's life offers meaningful background material.
- 4). Ask the child to write individual paragraphs about grandparents, parents and siblings. Use major events that took place to help the story progress and add imagery and color. Search Internet sites to find world events and match them up to milestones. Sit with your child while she conducts her research and you'll strengthen your parental bond at the same time.
- 5). Suggest adopting the simplest type of autobiographical structure by writing the assignment as a chronological accounting. This is where the timeline (Step 2) and historical events (Step 3) merge to move the autobiography from relative to relative, adding details and statistics about births, deaths, marriages, children, careers and social recognition and achievements.
- 6). Help the child overcome the biggest challenge of all by suggesting that he begin his autobiography with these words: "Once upon a time." This standard introduction has been part of most children's lives since the day you started reading books aloud to him.
- 7). Remind your child that the largest portion of the autobiography should focus on her experiences. It's fun to investigate the past, but this is an autobiography so it's OK to write several paragraphs centered around family to establish a great background, but then it's time to write about her own personal history.
- 8). Encourage your child to incorporate photos, newspaper headlines, mementos and other personal touches into the autobiography. You won't want to part with originals, so use a scanner and computer to make copies of relevant items, print them in black and white and have the child color and cut out each picture. Pasting each memory into its proper place is sure to help you realize that your child's story may be short but it's every bit as cherished as a current best seller.
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