Helping my children with creative writing

DD14 has always loved creative writing and can easily whip up a short story when asked. DS11 hasn't been as keen and needs help with ideas or using story prompts. There are lots of story writing prompts and ideas generators online such as this at Scholastic
Encouraging children to write a story of their very own can give them an enormous confidence boost, as well as help them consolidate their literacy learning by putting their phonics, grammar and reading skills into practice. I try to give my children plenty of opportunities to write as soon as they are able to hold a pencil and started mark making. They enjoy sitting at the window to write news reports and nature diaries. They make shopping lists, have pen pals, write persuasive texts making charity leaflets, write book reviews, make newspaper and magazine articles etc.
My children love to use pictures for story prompts. We scatter a selection of images, which we cut out of magazines, across the table which they take a good look at. They each choose an image to take inspiration from to help them write their own stories. Before planning their stories they carefully study the detail in the picture. They note the focal point, things they notice in the background, colours and how it makes them feel emotionally. Next they discuss their pictures, taking note of the first idea that comes into their mind when looking at the image, as this could be the start of their story.
They then begin writing, sometimes they get straight into their story whether or not they've made a plan. Sometimes they decide to write a poem instead using the figurative Language techniques they have learned. If they really can't think what to write, they use the report techniques they have learnt, thinking about the five W's and H. (What, When, Where, Why, Who and How) Once they have completed their writing, they start editing and rewriting their draft. They don't always finish their stories in one sitting and enjoy going off to their bedrooms to complete stories rather than staying at the table.

Another great idea for story inspiration is to look at objects. They could be objects around the house or, as we like to do, take our pens and papers along to the museum for the day and look at artefacts. There the children can read historical facts inspiring them to write a historical story. They start to think about the object, who does it belong to? where was it found? this helps them set the scene of their story and put pen to paper. The great thing about this type of lesson is that all my children, even with their age gaps, they can all get involved and write at their own level.

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