Tuesday, June 29, 2010

LEGO and Literacy (2)

In Lego and Literacy (1), I discussed skills kids develop when building with LEGO bricks, and said many of those skills also contribute to literacy. I gave you some ideas to build on  young LEGO fans' interest, and maybe inspire them to further creative activity.

Today I want to look at one particular website, and use it as a focus for encouraging kids to write. I've mentioned Minimizer before, in Using Toys as a Springboard to Writing. If you haven't done so already, do check it out with your kids. I think they'll enjoy decorating their own digital LEGO characters.

Once your kids have made a couple of characters at Minimizer, they can take screen grabs of them, and use them to:

Write a story - it will have to be a simple one, because the poses are static. Suggest to your kids that they create a dialogue between two LEGO people, or perhaps present a snippet of a longer conversation.

Write a list where they describe each character's likes, dislikes, habits, hobbies, strengths and weaknesses.

Create a wanted poster - this is another way to get kids to think about character, something that will benefit their writing as they get older.

Create a comic - make some text boxes for panels with a word processor, then add the Lego character pictures and write captions underneath. Speech bubbles are optional. Or use software like Comic Life (available for Mac or PC) the way I did in the picture above. I simply had to choose a template, drag my Minimizer pics to it, and add speech bubbles. Another idea would be to use ToonDoo, and use their ImagineR feature to import your own LEGO pics to a ToonDoo book. If low-tech suits you better, your child can build and pose the scenes he wants for his story with bricks and minifigs, then you can photograph them, scan and print, and he can add speech bubbles and captions with a marker.

Older kids might also like to create a book trailer, using LEGO pieces. They can use The Odyssey or Lego Money Pit Mystery Animation as inspiration. Encourage them to storyboard their ideas, and write a script for their trailer. Or they could try a movie like the one that Chase March and his class made.


  1. Henrietta Miller29 June, 2010

    Another great idea, perfect for the boys, thanks

  2. Book Chook29 June, 2010

    I'm sure they'll enjoy it, Henrietta!

  3. Ian @ Tidy Books29 June, 2010

    Fantastic ideas again. And ones that will really work here in our house.

  4. Book Chook30 June, 2010

    I love getting your feedback Ian!

  5. Kelly Be A Fun Mum01 July, 2010

    My daughter loves creating comics... sounds like a holiday activity to me.

  6. Book Chook01 July, 2010

    Yes! perfect for the holidays and also handy when a student needs to respond to a prompt in some way and is scratching their head over how.

  7. The reasonablyclever.com links seem to redirect to http://www.toondoo.com/ where I cannot find the MInimizer. :'(

  8. Book Chook14 August, 2010

    Greg, that is most peculiar! I checked the link and it's behaving fine for me. Here it is so you can try copy/paste and see if that works better:

  9. Fascinating. Great idea to motivate the kids to read and write!
    Jesper Just
    LEGO Education

  10. The Book Chook11 December, 2010

    Thanks, Jesper Just. Great to meet another LEGO fan!

  11. Love your LEGO and Literacy posts! I'm pretty sure I've used LEGO to teach every subject to my homeschooled brood. ;)

  12. @sharannmohr I am a huge LEGO fan. Great to meet another one!


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