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    I’ve been reading through some posts and wanting to make sure I understand. I am posting a copy of my daughters paraphrase for Lesson 2 in Fable. I read through it (yes, she is a struggling speller), but what stood out to me was her sentences, at times, sound so much like the original. I am wondering how best to proceed with this.

    1-Go over the paraphrase and highlight sentences of that nature and ask her to retell them more in her own words?

    2-Don’t worry about it and just keep working in the skill as we move forward?

    I guess I am trying to understand if I am evaluating this clearly or if I am off the mark at all. Thanks!

    Toddler fun!
    Attached Files

    Hello empokorski !
    Thank you so much for the sample! I just wanted to check on the grade level, based on the signature in your post. Is this your second grader, your 4th graders, or your 7/8th grader? We shall speak again soon!



      Thank you for asking. This is for my daughter, who is 11 years old, doing the MP4 (new users). Thanks for any clarifications.

      The other thing I was going to mention is that this is not her “neatest work”. I usually require more neatness in the Final Draft. She did this as a first pass. Do you typically require more neatness on the workbook draft? Do you recommend for a child who has spelling struggles that I scribe temporarily for a few lessons so she can see it and copy it with correct spelling?

      Thank you for your time.

      I am attaching a copy of her Final draft from Lesson 1 so you can see her “better work”. I had corrected spelling errors and she had copied most of them correctly the second time.

      Attached Files



        Thanks for the clarification!
        First off, please do not place too much focus on neatness and spelling in the rough drafts. The object here is creativity. (Of course, that doesn't mean we encourage students to be purposefully sloppy, but those that struggle with neatness and spelling need room to think about the story, not so much about penmanship and spelling). If you find it helpful to scribe some portions of your daughter's work, to help with those creative juices, that is fine. Then, she can copy out the final draft, a "fridge-worthy" display of her beautiful storytelling.

        In reading your daughter's lesson, I do feel that as you get into more lessons, focusing on the paraphrasing, you will see her become more varied in her storytelling. The Rough Draft review is a great time to look at phrases and, comparing them to the original, suggest that she go back and use more paraphrasing there.

        I describe paraphrasing as "saying the same idea in my own words." Each fable lessons works to progress the student to this mastery point. The variations widen the easily accessible road of synonyms and explore sentence re-arrangement, the figures give richness, the outline gives the basics (broken out from the original sentence structures in order to discourage mimicking the original sentences) and then the rough draft encourages a student to "see" the story happening in her own mind, and to then tell the story her own way.
        While it is true that CC is a composition class, I have found that at least half of its work is strictly arranging and developing skills in the mind, so that they are even able to come out on paper. So, a wonderful way to advance the skills without the labor on paper is to give attention to that teacher manual note about retelling the story verbally. Don't use the original story, but use the outline, and challenge your student to not use ANY of the main verbs and nouns from the story. Think about ways to say the "same thing" but in different words. You might try Roman Numeral I, then encourage her to try II. Do this several times throughout the lesson. It also helps emerging writers to not suffer so much from "pencil fatigue," and it IS possible to actually teach Fable skills to younger students strictly verbally, but that's another rabbit hole for another time. BUT, if you want to involve your younger ones, paraphrasing the story verbally is a fantastic way to engage younger students in the same curriculum.

        An example of a dialogue with a student as you amplify the paraphrase of a fable may be something like this:
        Student: An ant was running around in the sun searching for food...
        Mom: You are doing a great job remembering how the story started, but can you use some different words other than running and searching? How would YOU say what the ant was doing? Picture it in your mind and say it in your own words.
        Student: An Ant scurrying around in the sun looking for something to eat...
        Educator: That's good synonym use, but we are using the same sentence arrangement as the original. Can you try varying the sentence structure? Remember, you can see the Ant of YOUR STORY in your mind, tell what he is doing, in your own words. Why don't you start with the sun instead?
        Student: The sun was hot on the Ant as he scuttled around on the ground. He was very hungry as he tried to find something to eat.
        Mom: Scuttle is an amazing word! Keep going, your sentence structure is much more varied!
        Student: He was just about to give up when he spotted a strange, bumpy, brown nob in front of him.
        Mom: Really good! this is your story. I can see your perspective and your way of telling the story very clearly in your paraphrase.

        Ahem....this little "perfect teaching moment" dialogue above is definitely a bit cheesy, and is not filled with the normal asides of "No snack yet, do your math first," "Stop poking her" and "Would someone bring me the wipes?" However, that being said, the verbal practice of creativity through the variation and the paraphrase of the story are really wonderful ways to ease a student out of the "original" to a more "personal expression" of what happened in the Fable. Keep in mind also, that you will not have to do this forever. The more your daughter grows those paraphrasing muscles, the less you will have to engage with her personally. She will be more independent as the lessons progress. You will just need to monitor accuracy and completion, and introduce new paraphrasing skills and figures.

        In LATER lessons I have been known to permit aliens, unicorns, hobbits, and Star Wars figures, as students get more freedom to change more characters and settings, while sticking to the main point, or maxim of the story. I toss this in just to illustrate that creativity is a huge factor in both Fable and Narrative. To paraphrase Quintilian, excess in the beginning is FINE, because we have substance to work with. Or to paraphrase: We love chubby babies! This, by the way, definitely extends to figures, with the exception of ecphrasis, which is supposed to be short and almost cliche, like, "the rich snob demanded to see the manager" or "the yard was full of noisy, barking dogs."

        All told, keep encouraging the paraphrasing, getting away from the original vocabulary and sentence structure of the original using both verbal and then written language to practice. You are only on Fable 2, so you are in early days of the process. Don't worry! Also, as a side note, please remember that the outline is a TOOL, not an exercise. Feel free to walk your child through seeing the "parts" of the outline and fill in a few blanks (a quick photocopy and whiteout or sticky note cover work really well here) and then just use it. The outline is not meant to grind you to a halt for a formal lesson in outlining theory and implementation.

        Please write back and let us know what you think, and if I've missed anything. Then, let us know in a couple of lessons how you are doing!

        Have a lovely school day,


          Abigail Johnson Thank you for all that information. That is very helpful. I feel like I understand how to teach this better.
          I have two kids using this program. My daughter, who is younger, has spelling issues, but she doesn’t mind putting pencil to paper. My son is in 8th grade doing SC7/8. I started Fable with him last year after we moved, so we only made it through 5 lessons. He has dyslexia and writing isn’t as easy for him. We switched to AC7/8 based on a placement test, but the grammar is too easy for him. I just added Fable back in starting at Lesson 6 where we had left off. I’m hoping to get through as many lessons as he can handle before next year. How far through the book do you recommend before placing a child in Narrative? I am trying to plan out his High School path. He still needs more practice in typing, but worst case, he could write his rough drafts and then speech to text his Final Draft so he can be more independent with it. Do you have any thoughts regarding this and beyond? I know it can be hard to answer for a child you don’t know much about. Just thought I’d ask. Thanks! I’m really excited to work with the kids further in this program.

          By the way, I did have to laugh as our toddler has reached “maximum disruption level recently😊🤣. My seemingly quiet little guy is finding ways to create all kinds of havoc…pulling out rice bins and having “rice parties”, checking in my plants and their dirt, looking for food…who knew these two year olds were so resourceful! Thanks again.

          School year: 20/21
          DS(17) SC4
          DS(14) SC7/8
          DD(11) MP4NU
          DS(8) MP2
          DS(2) Fun Maker…