Teaching: Creative writing

Many children are anxious about putting pencil to paper when faced with a story writing activity. There are many reasons for this. These may be:

  • because they are afraid that they will spell a word incorrectly
  • some children dislike using a pencil and find handwriting difficult
  • young children in particular lack imagination and creativity
There are several ways to overcome these particular problems.
Spelling problems
1.   Give your child a ‘word book’. This usually takes the form of a notebook with pages indexed from A to Z. The child comes and asks for the word with the page with which the letter starts open eg  ‘P’ page open if the word is ‘pamphlet ‘    They can then look up the word again if they are uncertain. This gives the child confidence and reinforces correct spelling.
2.   Display around the room charts with words on them i.e. Months of the year, Days of the week, adjectives, numbers. As the children get older make charts on various topics such as Words for weather.
3.   Read to children every day and encourage them to read to you. This will increase their interest in words and also make them more familiar and recognisable. This helps give children courage to attempt to spell a word that they have seen often.
4.   Help your child with phonics. This should enable them to have the basis to attempt to spell a word. This can be done by playing games such as ‘I spy’. Start with simple words such as cat, ball, mat, Dad, car etc.
You can purchase DVDs or use online resources which iare fun and help to reinforce phonic sounds and hence give your child confidence. 
5.   Give children aids to help them have more confidence with spelling e.g.
  • Big Elephants Can't Always Use Small Exits! ……….because
  • Stationery or stationary? e for envelope or a for car
  • Rhythm Helps Your Two Hips Move…………………………….   Rhythm

     6. Activities Use activities such as those included in the topic Summer Activities.

  • Seaside Board Game reinforces vocabulary
  • Summer pack dominoes
  • Seaside game - use with seaside board game
Here are stories and activities to inspire children.
Harry and Tilly
Summer activities
Summer scrapbook
Many children find spelling difficult and a combination of sounds, shape of the word and visual awareness are all needed to help build up confidence and improve.
Problems with handwriting
Many children are very slow when doing handwriting so a task such as writing a story can be daunting. It is beneficial to give these children more practice in actual handwriting techniques.
Try these ideas, starting with fun physical activities.
1.   Gross Motor Activities which should last for 5 minutes
  • Jumping activities
  • Walk like a crab
  • Do push-ups on floor
  • Use a chair for push-ups
  • Balance on one leg - try this this with closed eyes
  • Walk toe-to-heel on a tape line on the floor
2.   Fine Motor Warm-up Activities which should last for 5-10 minutes
  • Rub hands together
  • Squeeze foam balls
  • Rub hands in circles on each other
  • Build a tower with small Lego blocks……have a race to see who can do this first!
  • String small beads
3.   Introduce one letter at a time
  • Illustrate the letter while talking through how each step is done.
  • Child repeats this using their finger and writing in the air. Make sure that they use large arm movements and talk through the steps out loud.
  • Using a finger, the child says the steps while 'writing' on the table.

4. Actual writing practice

  • Buy a chalk board with some chalk. Using board on a table write the letter on the board.
  • Try writing on child’s back so they have to guess the letter and then the child does this to you.
  • Write with a variety of pencils and pens i.e. coloured markers, finger paint, pens etc.
You will also find some ideas on our Handwriting page.
Help with ideas for story writing
1. It is a good idea to give children short writing tasks.

Try starting by giving children short constructive tasks such as a colourful card or home–made postcard to write.

Postcard about new pet
Postcards for you to send
Postcard to Grandmother
Postcard for school trip
See Writing worksheets for more ideas.
2. Here is a paper on Teaching writing.

3. It is less daunting for children to do small pieces of writing at a time. An ideal way of doing this is to suggest that they write a diary. Here is an example -  Tom's diary-writing

4.Children are often more stimulated to use their imagination and to write more fluently when they have a format to follow, for example In the morning... at lunchtime... after school.

The topics below will help with this.
Spring booklet 1
An alien topic

6. Children are often stimulated to be more imaginative if they are encouraged to read. I often find that boys enjoy comics and these help them increase their vocabulary and to use their imagination through the graphics. Here is a page of suggestions on reading: Encourage your child to enjoy reading.

You will also find other ideas at this link: Writing worksheets

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