Your child may have natural writing ability or they may struggle. The important thing is that all children benefit from exploring creative writing – creative learning is at the heart of good education.
This pre-prep school in Bristol offers a wide variety of creative activities which benefit children in both their academic and social learning.
Skilled writers can build their confidence and learn more about structure whilst those who are less skilled can learn new ways around words and how to enjoy them more.
How to begin
There are so many creative ways in which to help your child improve their writing skills. A good place to begin is by using a story your child has already enjoyed.
Discussion is important – when you have finished reading the story, talk to them about what happened. Which were the most exciting parts and why? Which characters did they love? Were there any they didn’t like?
From that point you can encourage your child to write their own version of the story. What came next? Is a good question to ask. Another way to approach this is to ask them to choose one character and write them a letter – your child can ask the character questions or tell the character things about themselves.
To help your child write their own stories, tell them that each story has the following ingredients.
Their story can be very short as long as it has all of these ingredients. Most children will be very keen to try to meet all of the challenges and will engage well. Others may need encouragement.
Helping reluctant writers
Children who don’t feel confident about their storytelling abilities might just need a little inspiration. You can inspire them with images. Print out a selection of interesting pictures – try to choose unusual or thought-provoking images which your child might like.
Ask them to think of a simple story based on the picture.
Poetry can be a wonderfully freeing thing, especially if you explain that not all poems rhyme.
Explore poetry with your child; read some well-known poems for children aloud. Here are some great examples to begin with. Starting with the funny ones!
- Please Mrs. Butler by Allan Ahlberg is the title poem in a collection and it’s a funny illustration of a complaining child who is unhappy with the boy next to him. Mrs. Butler’s responses whilst pleasant are increasingly desperate as she tries to keep her temper.
- Chocolate Cake by Michael Rosen is a relatable poem about a boy’s love for chocolate cake. Written almost as a child speaks, it’s a fabulous way to show children that poetry isn’t stuffy or made up of ‘big words’.
- Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll starts out with the famous line “Twas brillig and the slithy toves did gyre and gimble in the wabe.” Any child hearing that read aloud for the first time will be charmed into trying some nonsense poetry themselves!
- Life Doesn’t Frighten Me by Maya Angelou lists all of the things most children find frightening and then proceeds to bravely list the ways in which they can be driven away.
- Wind on the Hill by A. A. Milne is about a child’s wonder in nature. It’s a beautifully written and deceptively simple piece that most children will relate to.
Encourage a love of poetry and the written word in general by ensuring your child has access to plenty of fresh reading matter. Libraries can and will order new titles for you so you don’t even have to spend a lot of money.
Provide your child with notebooks and pens so that if they’re struck by an idea, they can jot it down.
Above all, make sure your child understands that creative writing is an art – and in art there are no wrong answers.