Writing a story is something that every child will be asked to do in school – and this will continue well into their secondary school life.
So, helping your child cultivate the skills needed to write compelling stories will go a long way! Here are seven tips:
1. Start by reading some favourite books together
Being good at writing does require reading. I always tell my students that if someone wants to train or lose weight, they need to hit the gym. Even if they only walk to the gym and back, k they are doing more exercise than they would usually do and that will go some way into getting them closer to their end goal.
No – that doesn’t mean just picking up a book and doing nothing else. It just means that to be good at writing, your child must immerse themselves into a book – if only for 10 to 15 minutes a day.
Reading together will go a long way to ensure that those 15 minutes are constructive: actual reading and using the dictionary to check the meaning of words; and just thinking about what the author is trying to convey to his or her readers. These are the type of questions they will need to answer for comprehension anyway, so you’ll really be killing two birds with one stone!
2. Stop while reading and ask your child to make predictions about what will happen next
This is a great way to help your child get his creative juices flowing. Just reading a story will help with spelling, punctuation, grammar, expression and understanding (which is excellent!). But to utilise reading books for creativity and for generating story ideas, I cannot stress enough how important it is to have a session on creativity during the process.
Once finished you’ve finished reading the book together, ask your child what she thought about:
- The book as a whole;
- The different parts of the book;
- The characters;
- Where the story took place;
- What they thought about the ending of the book; and
- If she feels the author did an excellent job of writing the book – and why
4. Ask your child to write a similar story to the text you have read together
Creative writing doesn’t always require coming up with entirely unique stories every time. Sometimes, using the basic idea of a story and changing it a little can help children make a start on their writing. I talk about this in the Geek School’s FREE Creative Writing Course, which is a must for all children who are preparing for the 11 Plus exams.
5. Make up stories together
This can actually be quite fun! Pick any topic or title and make up a sentence or a paragraph each. Build your characters up together, the location, the scenery etc. It can be a giggle! Try it!
6. Use storyboards to write stories
This is especially beneficial for young children who are learning how to write stories.
We all have different learning styles – visual is one that works for most. So, if you have a reluctant reader, let them draw the various scenes in their story. It can break up their perceived monotony of writing. Once they have a storyboard (which will look a bit like a comic strip), they can get to the more intricate details and start writing,
7. Read your child’s story together and review it together
Self-correction is a great way to learn. So, once your child’s first draft has been written, look at the plot, spelling, punctuation and grammar together. Most children will spot mistakes they have made along the way, which you can correct together. Then ask him to rewrite the final version. Using a scrapbook to keep the work in can be a great timeline to check your child’s progress and they can use it to see how much improvement they have made. This will be confirmation that the hard work has been worth it!