Learn All Year Long
ReadWriteThink has a variety of resources for out-of-school use. Visit our Parent & Afterschool Resources section to learn more.
- Notebook or paper for capturing ideas
- Pen or pencil
- Story Cube interactive tool
- Mystery Cube interactive tool
- Superhero comics or books (available at the library)
Before beginning the activity, decide whether the child will write a general story or a mystery. There is a good bit of overlap, but the mystery will have a crime, clues, and a solution, extra bits that make it a good choice for older children.
- Select a few superhero-themed comics or books. Read through them together or let the child do so independently.
- Ask the child to make a list of superhero powers, such as being able to fly, to climb buildings, or to turn invisible.
- Next, challenge the child to create a superhero who has summer super powers. The hero could harness sunlight to create a solar-powered laser weapon. Or maybe the hero can turn anything into ice cream. Suggest the child aim for three super powers, which can be serious or super silly.
- Ask the child to give the superhero a name, like Swimmer Girl or Snow Cone Man. The hero also will need a real-life name, for when he or she is off-duty.
- Next, ask the child to pick the vacation setting for this story. Perhaps it’s a favorite city or amusement park the child has visited. It also can be a dream vacation location or even a made-up fantasy land. Have the child write a few notes about the setting – what’s the weather like, where does the hero live, and why do people vacation there?
- Use the Story Cube interactive to map out the story’s key elements. The child will already have the “characters” and “setting” sides of the cube. Help the child with conflict, resolution, and theme. You might want to review the comics or think of superhero movies. What was the conflict, resolution, and theme of that story?
- For the "favorite" side of the cube, ask the child to come up with one important scene or action that they want in the story. What’s the big dramatic moment? Help them flesh out at least one scene. Once the story cube is completed, look below at “More Ideas to Try” for what to do with the finished "cube."
- Use the Mystery Cube interactive to map out the key elements of a mystery. The summer superhero might be the perfect choice for the role of "detective." Or maybe the superhero is unjustly accused of a crime. The descriptive words from Step 5 can be used to fill-in the "setting" side of the cube. From there, the child can invent the crime, victims, clues, and solution. (Hint: Suggest the child select clues and a solution that has a connection to the superhero’s special powers.)
- Older children or younger child with a guardian's permission can proudly display their work on social media outlets by using #RWTsummer.
NOTE: If writing a general story, do steps 6 and 7. If writing a mystery, skip to step 8.
- Use the story elements on the cube to create a homemade book. Start with the cover, featuring the author’s name, of course. Can the cover show the superhero unleashing summer super powers?
- Turn the story upside down: Turn the superhero into a super villain. Would a summer super villain turn the whole world freezing cold or drain all the swimming pools? Suggest the child rewrite the story with this twist.
- Invite some superheroes to dinner. Imagine if your summer superhero was invited to a superhero reunion and met all the famous caped crusaders, such as Superman, Spider-man, and Wonder Woman. What would they talk about, eat for dinner, or do for fun together?
Once you’ve finished your Superhero Cube, use the saving capability within the interactive tool to save your Story Cube file.
- On the final screen of the interactive, click Save Final.
- Name your file something that is descriptive of your Cube, and click Save.
- Select a place on your computer or external drive to save the file, and click Save.
- For more information about the saving capability, see our RWT ReView: Saving Work With the Student Interactives.
- With guardian permission, share photos or videos of completed work via social media sites by using #RWTsummer.
- Congratulate the child on publishing his or her work, and click through other children's Cubes to comment--or to find inspiration for a new project!