Writing creative stories is one of the easiest and simplest ways for your child to learn English (and start building their essay writing skills).
Because it means your child not only learns English vocabulary but that they learn to use vocabulary in a sentence.
Learning words or vocabulary is one thing – knowing when and how to use a word properly is another.
If your child is has grown up in a non-English speaking country like China, Singapore, Vietnam – one of their key weakness will likely be English writing – this is normal because they do not get regular exposure to English.
Even children who are born and live in native English speaking countries can struggle with writing if they do not practice.
The easiest way to get practice is to write stories.
At Exam Success, our students practice their writing on our creative writing prompts regularly through Writing Club – an online program that helps kids learn writing and gives them creative writing help through Australian A+ tutors who have scored in the top 10% of their exams.
Through writing stories, we’ve seen students improve greatly. Just from practicing writing stories, your child too will be exposed to English vocabulary, and importantly, they’ll start to improve and learn English.
Here’s are 6-steps that you, as a parent can do to help your child start writing their own short creative stories:
Step 1: Coming Up With a Story
To make things easy, get your child to think of a simple story around 1 character only.
Focusing on one character allows your child to describe and develop their character in detail. It’s the depth of description that gets your child’s essay the high points later on, so focusing on 1 character now means your child can avoid distractions with many characters.
Then think of one simple thing that happens to your 1 character and how they need to resolve it.
To begin with, your child can think up different things that may have happened to them – they could be good/bad memories, fun things they have done in your family, trips they have taken or special places they have visited or things they have done in school.
Step 2: Writing Out the Plan
Once your child has an idea of what to write – character and the event the story is centered on, the next step is to write out the plan.
You wouldn’t build a house without a plan, so you should also have a plan when building an essay.
The easiest and most straightforward way to plan (this is what we do in writing club – online writing improvement program) is to list out the paragraphs and then write one sentence to say what that paragraph will contain.
For example, in a story about a girl who goes to a new school, a plan might look like this:
Paragraph 1: Girl is nervous about going to school. Paragraph 2: Girl gets to school and feels lost Paragraph 3: Girl is attends her first class and enjoys it. Paragraph 4: The school day continues and the girl is happy at her new school.
When your child writes their plan out this way, their writing becomes more focused and problems such as unnecessary information can be avoided. Additionally, writing a plan in terms of paragraphs also encourages your child to start writing in paragraphs (rather than in 1 whole chunk).
Step 3: Writing Out the Story
This step is actually the easiest. It’s where you follow your plan.
Encourage your child to write simple sentences first that ‘tell’ the main point of their paragraph.
Then add in more sentences to describe how the character is feeling. Creating ‘feeling’ in a writing piece is what makes a story memorable.
Step 4: Removing Things
After the writing stage, the next step is editing – editing is just a fancy word to say ‘fixing up’ or ‘making the piece better’.
While the writing part should be done by your child, you can also assist during the editing part.
Read through the piece with your child and ask questions like?
Go through and remove parts with your child and re-read through the piece to see if it sounds better with the removal or not. Making the decision together is a great way to help your child with their writing!
Step 5: What Needs to Be Changed?
While this step is still under the whole editing phase, unlike the previous step, here, you don’t totally remove sentences or words. At this point, find errors and fix them. They could be spelling mistakes, using the incorrect tense, punctuation, capital letters etc….
Step 6: What Needs To Be Added?
This is the final step. At this stage, your child will need to decide whether or not to add additional sentences or words. With your guidance, your child can identify places where the story is missing something, for example, some parts may jump from one to another without a connection and this would be the perfect spot to add a connecting sentence.
Now that you have a 6-step process that can help your child learn English through creative essay writing. You can now go through our creative writing prompts for kids so your child can do some writing practice.
Here are 10 creative writing prompts that your child can use to jump-start their writing (you can also find these prompts available to practice with a count-down timer and get it scored or marked through our Exam Success Writing Success Points here):
Prompt 1: The hardest journey of all
If your child starts writing, even just with basic sentences at first, you will have taken steps to prepare them for the future. For example, if your child plans to study in the US or Australia, you will likely have to sit an English test. One of the easiest ways to give them regular practice is through writing club – our regular writing improvement program.
It’s never too early to start writing! It’s a skill for life!