Story Construction

Ke:nx + Expanded Keyboard

screenshot of dialog box
Ke:nx expanded keyboard dialog box.

sneezes coughs hiccuoghs
broom pumpkin cobweb

Sample story construction output.


screenshot of output
Sample story construction output.


Ke:nx can be used as a vehicle to permit students to retell a favorite story or create a new version of an old story. Ke:nx can be used with an expanded keyboard such as Key Largo or Discover Board (Don Johnston). For example, students can select from: agents (characters, classmates, animals), actions (silly actions or movements), and locations (zoo, farm, the moon), all organized into categories on the expanded keyboard. Components can be related to the classroom or story theme.


This strategy is fun for children who are beginning to construct stories, and are not yet ready for independent writing. The expanded keyboard offers the student pictures from which to select story items. It may be used for story retelling, story construction, story adventures, or song construction. Typically, this strategy is used with a word processor, so the student's story may be printed.


This sample story construction setup is based on the story When Itchy Witchy Sneezes by Joy Cowley.

  1. Open the Ke:nx folder and double-click on the Ke:nx icon.
  2. Double-click. on the icon labeled <Expanded Keyboard> [A dialog box should appear onscreen].
  3. Use your mouse to draw boxes (e.g., nine boxes, 3 for agents, 3 for actions, 3 for objects).
  4. Move your mouse to the center of the first box and double-click on it. [The dialog box in the sidebar should appear onscreen, and the box you are working on will be highlighted].
  5. Double-click on the word <Icons> and select the desired picture. Use your mouse to scan the graphics. Select the bat icon. [You should see a bat icon in the dialog box].
  6. Move your mouse to the word <Label> and type in Bonnie Bat.
  7. Move your mouse to <Computer Receives> and type in When Bonnie Bat.
  8. Move the mouse to <Item Feedback>. [This is what the user hears]. Click on <Digitized> and record "When Bonnie Bat."
  9. Click on <Done>.
  10. Continue preparing the other eight boxes by double-clicking on the box you want to create. Add items such as pumpkin [<computer Receives> she blows away the pumpkin].
  11. Your setup is ready to use! Simply open a word processing program, select your setup, and enjoy.

© 1997, Emergent Literacy Success: Merging Technology and Whole Language, Caroline Musselwhite and Pati King-DeBaun


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This material was developed by the National Center to Improve Practice (NCIP), located at Education Development Center, Inc. in Newton, Massachusetts.  NCIP was funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs from October 1, 1992 - September 30, 1998, Grant #H180N20013.  Permission is granted to copy and disseminate this information.  If you do so, please cite NCIP.   Contents do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Department of Education, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by NCIP, EDC, or the U.S. Government.  This site was last updated in September 1998.

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