Creative writing for children

child-writing-picture

Being a writer myself, naturally I encourage my children to make up and record their own tales on paper. My daughters now each have their own notebook where they write down their stories – sometimes short one-shots, sometimes epic tales of many chapters and pages. They have been “pretend writing” even when they were very young, but now that they are actually creating legible, engaging stories, they enjoy reading them aloud to each other and to me, and also having their work read aloud by me to the entire family. This is so much fun.

We’ve taken this to the next level when I started writing, inspired by my daughters, a children’s humorous fantasy book about a fairy who is determined to tame an unruly dragon. In between readings-aloud, we all sat together at the table, drawing the dragon, the fairies and the enchanted forest kingdom (please don’t ask me to post any of my drawings :-)).

This was a lesson for me – used as I was to writing by myself and to myself, wrapped up in my own world, I now had to accommodate the wishes of an eager audience which wasn’t only constantly prodding me to get on and write down what becomes of the dragon, but didn’t hesitate to offer critique in the form of “this is stupid” or “change that whole chapter”.

Of course, creative writing helps children learn so many helpful language skills: spelling, grammar, composition, vocabulary; and retelling the story helps exercise logic and memory. It is really one of the best secret tools a homeschooler can use, but it’s important not to ruin the child’s creative genius by unpicking every spelling or grammar mistake, or it might put them off writing altogether, or of showing their creations to others.

One’s story or poem is a sensitive, visceral thing, and it’s better to leave a few misplaced commas in peace than discourage an enthusiastic young writer. Leave the corrections for specifically defined language exercises – and anyway, if a child reads and writes a lot, language skills and correct grammar and spelling will eventually be absorbed with very little help.

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4 thoughts on “Creative writing for children

  1. Or girls used to write stories, and I always enjoyed hearing them. Sometimes they skip an entire section, going from “the rabbit was home” to “the rabbit was at the store” without a pause.

    “How did the rabbit get to the store? Did he meet somebody along the way?”

    “Oh ,yes…”

    “Well, write it down.”

    And there would follow some wild adventure. We had such a great time! I’m glad your little ones are sharing this time with you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I will often sit down and write stories with my children. It started when they were young, at bed time we would make stories up and it went from them just telling me what names to use, to them now leading the whole story, and like you, they now critique my work. It does make it harder, but i enjoy their stories so much, that any suggestions they make to my writing are duly considered, and more often utilised. If i was to reach the stage where by i submitted my work, in more cases than not credit would have to be given to my children as if it wasn’t for them, they would likely remain incomplete.

    Like

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