The Christmas Thief by SJ

A few weeks ago, I was contacted by a mother and father requesting a writing tutor for their daughter who had just completed fourth grade. After getting acquainted with her and her parents, we began talking remotely about reading and writing. Based on my first impression of her and my discussion with her parents, I decided that she is a person who loves reading and writing. In order to foster that love and help her become a powerful writer, I assigned to her our first writing task together.

Telling a story from a picture

As her first task, I showed her the image above, of a snowy cottage with footprints leading away from the door. I asked her to tell me a story using nothing but her imagination and this picture. I had hoped to both gauge her creativity and her skill as a writer with this task.

After coming up with a story idea, we discussed the elements of a narrative: Exposition and Setting, Initiating Event, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Resolution. With a bit of my guidance, S powered through a first, second, and final draft of her story, which is published below! Even though we have a lot of room for improvement, I’m so proud of her!

The Christmas Thief by SJ

The evening air was calm and crisp. The snow was two feet thick. The bright sun had almost set, and the misty moon would soon be visible. At the edge of the icy forest sat a humble cottage, and smoke was tumbling from its brick-red chimney. From within the forest trudged a heavy man. He was hauling a heavy wagon filled with materials.

It was Santa! He was coming home from a long day of collecting wood for the fire and supplies for the presents he had to deliver on Christmas the next day. Everything needed to be perfect. As Santa was thinking about the preparations he still needed to do, he noticed his sleigh wasn’t in its usual spot in the driveway. 

“Where has my sleigh gone to!” Santa said in alarm. Something just wasn’t right. He went inside to find all the elves crying. ”what happened” he asked all the elves “we don’t know” they all whispered.

Santa went to check the cameras but he only saw a blur although he tried to slow it down he wasn’t able to. So he went to look for clues. By the work table, he found a small card the looked like an ID, it said Joseph Black. “It was Joseph!” he announced. He and the elves thought of a plan then they went to put it in action.

They got to Joseph’s house and while the elves went to distract him Santa dashed to where Joseph hid all of his stuff, but when Santa got there Joseph looked like he was waiting for him.

“Where do you think you’re going?” he challenged.

“To get my stuff back” Santa stammered.

“I don’t think so,” Joseph said in a proud voice. Santa knew what he had to do.

“Here I will give you this new iPhone so you can talk with the Grinch and your other friends, but I want my stuff for it,” he said hopefully. There was a long pause after that.

“OK, deal!” Joseph said excitedly. They traded then Santa and the elves were on their way home from Joseph’s cave. It took a long time because they had to haul the sleigh. When they got home Ms. Claus was there waiting for them.

“Once you deliver the presents hurry home I am baking my specialty cookies I don’t want them to get cold,” she said over the counter. Santa and the elves hurriedly put all the presents in the sleigh and Santa was off in a rush he delivered all the presents just before dawn and got home in time for the cookies they were halfway gone and Santa only got five.


The final draft of our first writing task together

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