Encourage fidgeting and forget grammar – story writing tips for kids

Written by Tracey Blake


Want to encourage your child to start using their imagination and writing some wacky (and no doubt entertaining!) tales? These tips from from Carey Ann Dodah from Explore Learning, should help…

  • Praise praise praise – sometimes children are afraid of giving writing a try as they are worried about what their peers will say or that they will get things wrong.  Encourage them to have a go and not be afraid of making mistakes.
  • Stagger their stories so that they at first write a 250 word story, then a 500 word, then a 1,000 word story.
  • Make sure you celebrate their success each time!
  • Know how long an activity is going to take – short and frequent learning activities can keep your child stimulated for longer and maximise the retention of information.  Try writing for 15 minutes and then do something else – that way children will know how long they are expected to write for and feel more motivated to complete the task.
  • Encourage their love of reading – reading books with children is a great way of sparking their imagination.  Once a child learns to read it can be tempting to let them get on with it but by reading together, you’re sending a message that reading is important and therefore writing is too! Encouraging them to enjoy stories is the starting point to sparking their imagination.
  • Let them fidget – sometimes children just need something to fiddle with such as a tangle toy.  This helps to take away the urge to fidget and stimulates parts of the brain that assist children in their learning.
  • Start young – it’s very important for children to start writing from a young age, and I don’t mean just writing stories but writing anything at all!  It doesn’t matter if they don’t finish writing the stories, as long as they’re practising their own stories as much as they possibly can and creating something unique.
  • Don’t get bogged down in grammar – of course it’s important later in life, but don’t let it prevent creativity.
  • Make up stories about people they know – some children may struggle to come up with characters’ names or descriptions so to resolve this, encourage them to write about people they know, or their favourite characters from books, TV or film!The National Young Writers’ Awards are organised by tuition provider, Explore Learning. It’s free for children aged 5 to 14 to enter and children are encouraged to write no more than 500 words and tell stories that ‘mash-up’ two genres. This could see a spaceman transported to Roman times, an alien in the lost city of Atlantis or a Victorian gentleman in the outback! The deadline is 7th June and they could win a trip to Disneyland Paris for their whole family and £500 worth of books for their school.  Enter via the website www.explorelearning.co.uk/youngwritiers.