My 7 year old son asked me to post here a story he wrote for school (see below). He wrote a short, laborious, and unreadable first draft by hand--unreadable not because his handwriting is so bad, but because his spelling so often does not result in recognizable words. Then he re-wrote it on the computer (with a bit of typing help from me), and did the spell checking himself. The result is something that he can read back to himself, which I assume gives him confidence that he is a reader as well as a writer, and is thus a Good Thing. Gratifying, but I wonder if, like his Mama (who can't even blame computers), he will ever learn to spell on his own.
Having gotten this self-consciously trying to make my kid's story relevant to a larger readership interested in children's literacy section out of the way,
JOCK MEETS NESSIE
Once there was a man named Jock (he was Scottish). He went to Loch Ness to fish. But he wanted to see Nessie because when he was a little boy he'd found a magical compass on the bank of Loch Ness. Engraved in old English runes were the words “Give this to Nessie!” He had kept it all the years since, hoping to give it to Nessie. “I would love to see her,” whispered Jock to himself. He thought that Nessie was a plesiosaur.
It was early in the morning. Jock ran down the slope to the dock. He got to his boat and untied it. He started to row into the lake. Looking around and enjoying the sweet summer air, he spied bubbles rising in a ring. Jock decided to go to the ring of bubbles.
Jock got to the bubbling water and leaned over the side of his boat to see if Nessie was there. He saw Nessie’s head, but he thought it was a fish. “It isn’t Nessie, but it looks like a big fish!” Jock prepared his line and tossed it in. Nessie bit the bait and tugged hard. Jock suddenly realized that it wasn’t a fish! He screamed out, “If you’re Nessie, show yourself!”
Nessie rose out of the water. She looked like a plesiosaur alright! She snorted and swam around Jock and his boat. Jock felt so happy that he could give Nessie the compass. He tossed it over the side of the boat and Nessie caught it her jaws. He was relieved because finally he had seen Nessie and given her the compass.
Nessie dove down and put the compass inside a secret cave. Then she came back up to the surface and snorted twice and dove back down. She came up again with two fish in her mouth. She tossed them into Jock’s boat.
Jock wondered if she would use the compass find her way back to the ocean. Nessie had not left Jock and his boat. Then the strangest thing happened. Nessie started to speak. “Thank you, Jock,” said Nessie. “ It was very kind of you to give that to me. Now I have done my thanks, so I will return to my ocean home. I’ve been a prisoner in Loch Ness for all these years, and I’m so glad you gave me that compass so I can be free.”
She disappeared back under the water, and a piece of paper floated up from below. Jock took his net and fished it out of the water. It said, “We’ll have other adventures.” And it was signed, Nessie.