As we know, there is no way we can go through English sessions in school without touching on story-writing. In addition to this, we tell stories all the time - be it consciously or subconsciously. This we do to our children, friends or colleagues and so effortlessly without noting all the different elements that make up telling a good story.
In the same way, many children engage with stories in their free time. This could be through reading or writing them. This is quite an important activity because it enables them to communicate with others in a number of ways via written and spoken language. Through writing stories, your child will also be able to read and understand stories by other people much better.
These are all very good skills to have and are great incentives for your child to engage more with stories. But story writing is not always as easy as can seem when reading the ones written by established authors. But if they could become more familiar with how these authors write as well as the different aspects and elements that come together to create a good story, story writing could just become second nature to your child.
Below are three great tips to help you help your child get to grips with great story writing:
Read together with your child
This would be the most obvious way to help your child understand the workings of a good story. Take it in turns reading - this could be a sentence or paragraph each. The whole idea would not be to see how many stories you both can get through but rather to help your child understand the different elements of the story. This could be done by asking questions about the story – the characters, the setting, the plot. You could also discuss the different sections or parts to the story – the beginning, the middle and the end – as well what is to be found in those sections.
For example, the beginning generally introduces the main character as well as the situation (plot). The middle of the story is where it develops to the point where the problem begins to unfold. The end of the story is where a resolution found and the story is wrapped up.
Once your child understands or realises the pattern, as you both go through a few books. He/she will begin to subconsciously apply them in their own stories.
As you both go along, pick your child’s brain on different sections of the story e.g. why a character acted in a certain way or said what they said. Ask your child if things could have been done differently and if so, what they would suggest.
Have oral storytelling sessions
Children will generally prefer talking to writing, but this is mainly because they probably find it trickier to think of what to put down. If they become more familiar with shaping their thoughts, they will find it easier to transform those thoughts into a creative written piece.
The great thing about oral storytelling sessions is that they can be as informal as you want. This will work well with your child as they won’t feel as if they are under a lot of pressure to deliver. It could also be done with a lot more people, thereby making it more fun.
This could be done by floating one or a few pictures and having you and your child / the participants discuss and (collectively) come up with a story. Another option could be to write some words on some pieces of paper and put into a container, from which you would take it in turns to pick. Whoever picks a piece of paper, would need to add a few sentences to it (or form some sentences around it) before the next person has a turn. This could be ramped up by having an additional container with some grammar words (connectives, parts of speech, punctuation marks etc), meaning you would have to pick a piece of paper from both containers and form sentences with/around them. This would make the sentences much more well-rounded. For example, the word could be HOUSE and the grammar point could be BECAUSE. The sentence could then be; James ran outside because he heard a scream coming from the neighbour’s house, across the road.
Create a story chain
In this case, someone could start the story off and each person adds a line or two to it and you just keep going until you have a complete story. Note that this can be done orally or written.
Remember, story writing is a form of creative writing so allow your child to get as creative as possible. It should be all about letting his/ her creative juices flow, so don’t put a stopper in that at all.
Once they become quite familiar with the process, start to get them into the habit of creating a plan before they begin to write. This is to gather all of their ideas before putting them together structurally. As with any task, they’d need to make sure they have all the tools/ideas together before carrying out the task and story-writing is no different.
Have a look at the following links for more on writing:
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