A Step-by-Step Guide to Helping Your Child Write a Story

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Taking those first steps towards writing a story can be both a fun and challenging activity for your child. By planning and writing a story, children learn to put their thoughts into order and use written language to communicate their ideas in a variety of ways.

Finding ideas and inspiration for writing a story can be tricky for both children and adults alike. Helping your child structure their story from beginning to end is a great way to make the writing process a whole lot easier.

Step 1: Think of an idea

A good place to start is by reading a book together. Stop and ask your child to make predictions about how the story might end. Your child’s alternative ending may become great material for a new and original story. You can also write stories based on real-life experiences, such as your child’s first day of school, an adventure in the park, or losing their first tooth.

Step 2: Create a character and a setting

Ask your child to create a character and a setting. Will their main character be a child, an adult, or even an animal? Will the story be set in the local park, a different country, or even outer space? Let your child’s imagination run wild and avoid being critical or adding your own creative flair to their ideas.

Step 3: The Beginning

All good children’s stories have a beginning, middle and an end. Ask your child to expand on their original story idea and set the opening scene. What’s special or different about their main character? Maybe it’s a cat who enjoys taking baths, a superhero who can’t fly, or a princess who lives in a cave!

Step 4: The Conflict

A story with no conflict can be rather dull. Help your child understand the concept of conflict in a story by revisiting some of their best-loved books. Explain to them when a conflict arises and encourage them to create one for their own story. They can even introduce a new character to shake things up!

Step 5: The Turning Point

The turning point is usually in the middle of the story, and helps to make a story more interesting. It can be a eureka moment, a time where a character discovers a hidden superpower, or a surprise that throws the whole story into a spin. Ask your child to think of something that the reader would least expect. It doesn’t always have to make sense – this is your child’s time to unleash their imagination!

Step 6: The Resolution

A good story doesn’t finish without a final resolution. Ask your child how the conflict in their story pans out. Challenge them to link the conflict with the turning point to create a meaningful resolution.

Step 7: The End

A satisfying ending is the perfect way to finish a story. What happened to the characters once their conflict became resolved?  Were they able to finally achieve something, or did they learn an important lesson as a result?

Do you have any tips for helping your child write a story? Read more helpful writing tips here.

Reading Eggs is the comprehensive online reading website that teaches children aged 3-13 essential early reading skills. Reading Eggs includes the Story Factory which gives children a step-by-step guide to writing a story. Start your free two week trial today

7 Important Benefits of Reading Aloud

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“One of the greatest gifts adults can give – to their offspring and to their society – is to read to children.” – Carl Sagan

Today marks World Read Aloud Day, which is about celebrating the power of words, especially those words that we share from one person to another.

Sharing stories often begins with reading aloud. Reading aloud provides a number of opportunities and benefits for children of all ages, from strengthening their vocabulary to increasing their attention span.

Here are seven important benefits of reading aloud with children:

1. Develops stronger vocabulary. Children acquire language primarily through listening. Reading aloud lets children regularly hear new words in new contexts, which builds their vocabulary and helps them develop a stronger awareness of the communicative possibilities of language.

2. Builds connections between the spoken and written word. When children hear words read aloud, they begin seeing how printed words are closely connected to spoken words. This helps them recognise the difference between the arrangement of spoken language and printed text.

3. Provides enjoyment. Children generally enjoy being read to, which encourages them to see and experience reading as something fun and positive. Reading aloud makes them more likely to become interested in learning to read, which is likely to then spark a lifelong love of reading.

4. Increases attention span. Unlike watching television, reading or being read to promotes a slower unfolding of events and ideas. This encourages children to listen, pay attention and concentrate, which after a while can increase their overall attention span.

5. Strengthens cognition. A well written book exposes children to sophisticated language, which can strengthen their cognitive abilities. When children are regularly exposed to the sophisticated language of quality literature, they learn how to apply their cognitive abilities to understand the text.

6. Provides a safe way of exploring strong emotions. Reading a story aloud that explores particular emotions helps some children to accept their own feelings and understand how others feel. By reading aloud together, stories can help children feel more comfortable discussing their emotions with others.

7. Promotes bonding. Reading aloud with children provides benefits for adults too. The quality time spent together promotes bonding and strengthens relationships, making it easier for children to develop their social, communication and interpersonal skills.

World Read Aloud Day is an excellent time to begin reading aloud with your child if you don’t already. For some helpful tips, read our previous blog post on 10 Reading Aloud Dos and Don’ts.

How to Use Your Child’s Dreams to Develop Their Creative Writing Skills

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Dreams are a rich source of creative writing for kids. Dreams are often filled with unique ideas, adventures and experiences that rarely or never occur in the real world. Here are some ways parents can help children put their dreams onto paper!

Ask good questions. Talk to your child about their dreams and let them know that you’re there to listen and support their imagination. When your child describes the story in their dreams, ask them about their feelings, about the colours of the sky and landscape, and about exactly how events played out to jog their memory and encourage detailed description.

Practise the ‘show, don’t tell’ rule.  ‘Show, don’t tell’ is a great creative writing rule to follow, and encourages children to use active verbs to show what’s happening in their story rather than simply reporting the facts. You can get your child to start off by writing a play-by-play recount of their dream. Then get them to rewrite their story in a way that shows the same information. For example, ‘The dinosaur was scared’ could become, ‘the dinosaur trembled and ran away to hide’.

Create a story board. A story board is a series of pictures that tell a story. It resembles a comic strip and can be a fun way for your child to plan and visualise how they will tell their story. Often our recollection of dreams becomes lost after waking up. Story boards are a great way to help your child evoke imagery from their dreams or create new ones.

Help your child keep a dream journal. A dream journal is a great way to help your child record dreams and write them down before they forget. They can decorate and personalise they own dream journal and fill it with words and pictures. Remember to respect your child’s decision if they ever begin to want to keep their journal private.

Provide other tools for creative expression. Sometimes writing isn’t the easiest option for your child to express their dream experiences. By providing other tools for creative expression, you can encourage your child to bring their dreams to life in other ways such as art, dance, theatre or puppets. By experimenting with different tools for expression, they may find new ideas, motivation and inspiration to write.

Do not interpret. Feel free to help your child interpret their own dreams or tell them what you would think about if you were having the same ones, but remember to encourage their creativity and interpretation skills by letting them make the final decision on what their dreams mean.

For more creative writing tips read our blog post on story writing here.