How to use the half term to help your child improve their writing
Story writing is a key part of the skills required at the primary school level, however, schools have so much to cover in the curriculum that some children just don’t get as much practice of writing as they should.
Like anything school related, if you want your child to do well, you have to put some work into it outside of the classroom. Here are some tips to help you get your child writing sparkling stories before school’s back in!
1. Read your favourite books together
Reading goes a long way to helping children come up with ideas for short stories. As a journalist and the owner of a very successful tuition business (check out my free creative writing course for children – freewritingcourse.geekschool.co.uk), I can tell you that the best way to improve writing is to read more.
If you have a reluctant reader, try reading some of your favourite stories together. If anything else, it’s a great opportunity to spend more time together and bond. Aim for 15 minutes of reading a day – this is long enough to make an impact, but short enough that it doesn’t bore you and your child if you’re not enjoying it.
2. Can you predict the future?
Once you have read a chapter together, why don’t you and your child try to work out what will come next? It’s a great conversation starter and will help your child with the story formation process.
3. Review the book
Once you’ve finished reading the book together, ask your child what he thought about :
- the different parts of the book;
- the characters;
- where the story took place;
- what she felt about the ending of the book; and
- if she thinks the author did an excellent job of writing the book or could improve in any way.
4. Ask your child to write a similar story
Sometimes, using the basic idea of a story and changing it a little can help children make a start on their writing. For example, if the story is about a girl, is it about a boy., if it is has a sad ending, make it a happy one. This process can help children plan their stories successfully. 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 them up
Making up stories with your child can be quite fun. The I do this, I write one sentence and let my child do the next and so on. It’s a great way to prompt your child in the creative writing process, and you can discuss the reasons why you have opted to take a particular direction in your story.
6. Use storyboards
Creating storyboards is excellent for young children who are learning how to write stories.
We all have different learning styles – visual learning is a style that works for many children because it can help them conceptualise their ideas before writing them down. So, if you have a reluctant reader, let them draw the different scenes in their story. It can break up their perceived monotony of writing. The storyboard can be a comic strip or a picture-based mind map. To be honest, it doesn’t really matter as long as your child can quickly navigate through it to write the stories.
7. Read your child’s story together and review it together
Self-correction is a great way to learn. I am always amazed at how students who claim to have read through their work still pick up mistakes when they are reading them aloud to me. Once you’ve read through the work together, ask your child to write it out so they can see the differences in the work they have produced.
Founder and editor of www.motherswhowork.co.uk, a mother of two wonderful children, wife, entrepreneur (check out www.geekschool.co.uk) and journalist.