Most children have a natural creative streak, but as anyone who has tried it knows, getting an idea out of your head and onto a piece of paper can be very challenging!
In this section, I've provided a variety of printable templates and tips to guide children through making up their own stories. I suggest trying different approaches throughout the year to help the children discover what methods work best for them.
Here is a brief synopsis of some of the methods. Click the underlined links to go to the detailed pages including printable templates:
Provide a picture (also known as "Picture Sparks"):
Have the children make up a story based on what they see in the
questions: Start with the entire group and
brainstorm or read a non fiction book about a particular subject (ex:
penguins). Divide into small groups and give them questions to
consider (ex: Where will the story be set? Who will be your
characters? How can we make it really interesting? What juicy
words can we use?)
Provide the beginning of the story: Give the children the first sentence or paragraph of the story and allow them to develop the plot based on that sentence.
Provide the end of the
story: Give the children the last sentence or paragraph
of the story and allow them to develop the plot based on that sentence.
Provide a Story Board: Give the children a text or picture outline of the
bare bones of the story and let them fill in the rest. Usually this
will include 4 to 10 images. This is a great exercise for practicing
story building skills like:
describing the setting
developing the characters
using "juicy words" (adjectives and adverbs)
Implement the Macro Cloze
strategy: Read a story with a traditional "Beginning,
Middle and End". Select one or two paragraphs (in different
places in the story) that are fairly predictable considering the text that
leads up to the paragraph and the text that follows the paragraph.
Prepare the story so that these paragraphs are omitted. Leave plenty
of space for the students to write what they believe happened in each spot.
Distribute a copy of the story to each student. Have them read the
story silently and write their own paragraph for each omitted spot.
All on their own: Of
course, the most challenging exercise is for the children to develop their
own stories out of thin air (er, creative minds). They can make their
own tools to help them through this challenging process. For example,
sketch a quick drawing(s) of their story idea (Provide a Picture)
make up 5 questions to ask themselves about their story
idea (Provide Discussion Questions)
Sketch or print a story board for their story idea
(Provide a Story Board)
Make a rough draft of their story, self edit it and then
have a parent, teacher or peer edit it -- looking for setting, character
development, plot development, spelling, punctuation and juicy words.