Writing with Children

For many of us who have experience with children, we are likely familiar with their joy of make-believe.  They love listening to stories, reading books with stories, and making up stories of their own.

As parents, caregivers, teachers, relatives and friends to young people, we have an opportunity to share this creative passion with them.  We can tell them stories that we remember from our own youth, we read to them, and even make up stories for them.  We can also be the attentive audience for them as they tell us their stories.

By listening to children’s stories, we validate their creativity and encourage further creativity.  You may be surprised how elastic their ideas can be.  I know that I still am after hearing many many stories.  Below is my six-year-old’s latest tale.  It has all the makings of a story: characters, conflict, plot, theme, and a surprise ending.

The Shark and the Magic Fish                 By Finn Coleman

Once upon a time there was a great white shark that ate everything in its path.

Then a day later, the great white shark met a fish.

When he was about to snap it down, the fish said, “Stop! Don’t eat me.  I am magic.”

The shark did not eat him.  Instead, they became best friends.

They ate together.

They slept together.

They did everything together.

A hundred years passed and they became very old.

Then another hundred years passed.

Then the great white shark ate the magical fish.

The End.

So, once you hear the story, what other things can you do to support and encourage them?

  • Provide them the materials to write the story down, if they are too young to write all the words, you may scribe for them.
  • Type their story up so they can see it in print form and share it with their friends.
  • Make a book for them, by spacing out the text and providing blank pages in between for their artwork.
  • Encourage them to read their story once it is printed.  This will encourage emerging readers to read new words, even though they already use the words in their vocabulary.
  • Provide blank lines below the text so new writers (K, grade 1) can copy the story out in their own  printing.
  • Some school libraries provide shelf-space for student made publications; see if your child wants his or her book to go there.


Filed under education, kids, lorrie_miller, motherhood, parenting, short story, writing, writing exercises, writing with kids

6 responses to “Writing with Children

  1. lorrie

    In case you are wondering, I did all of the above suggestions with Finn and his story; he was thrilled to take the time. Although he had a vivid imagination, he was a reluctant writer. But by giving him a writing exercise that was based entirely on his own story, he spend more than an hour (over about three days) carefully printing and illustrating his book. I was so worth the little effort it took to put it together for him.

    I would love to hear of other child-publication ideas and stories of creative encouragement! Please post. Thanks.

  2. Kate

    Have you ever heard of a book called Sewing A Friendship? It was written by a 10 year old. We got it for my niece and she loved it. It has a really strong story and some amazing characters.

    • lorrie

      Thanks for the suggestion. We celebrate children’s visual creativity; it is time we recognise their literary creativity as well. Glad to see a young child with published work!

  3. Lorrie, it’s so great that you share this idea for writing and reading. Writing is such an essential and under-emphasized literacy activity — as is creativity and really allowing children a voice and the opportunity to express themselves. So, kudos to you!

    I want to also offer Think It Ink It Publishing (www.thinkitinkitpublishing.com) as an opportunity to celebrate your child as a writer and reader. Our professionally illustrated wordless picture books allow children the opportunity to write the story and become authors. Check it out and let us know what you think! Thanks so much!

    • lorrie

      What a great product! As an educator, it is a good way to encourage creativity and writing at many levels of ability and language skills. I will certainly pass on the site to other parents. Thanks.

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