There is no question that creative writing is an essential skill for school-aged children to possess. Learning to write creatively can help develop problem-solving skills, enhance memory, and even increase literacy levels. While there are a variety of methods that educators can use to encourage creative writing in their classrooms, few will prove as effective as actually having some fun with it! This blog post will discuss some tips on how to introduce creative writing to children and allow the magic of the blank page to inspire your kids’ imagination.
Make It A Game
One of the simplest yet most effective methods of getting children to engage with creative writing is to make it a game. This is especially useful with young children since it allows them to have some fun while also learning a new skill. For example, you can give each child a turn at being the “Writer in Residence.” This can be done by having them write something for you about a character they have created. Afterward, you can read their stories out loud and discuss what makes their characters unique.
Having children write on a daily basis can not only improve their storytelling abilities but allow you to discover new things about them. One mother learned that her daughter had a love for animals and that she had previously written numerous short stories about dogs. Another mother discovered that her son was interested in space and had written a short story about a trip to the moon.
Experiment With Different Forms
Creative writing can exist in many forms, and children are often amazed when they are presented with different ways in which their creations can be presented to them. One of the best things about this approach is that it allows children to discover different styles of writing and learn how to express themselves creatively in whatever form they choose. Different forms of creative writing can include:
- Dramatic reading (e.g. acting out a story or poem)
- Musical monologues (e.g. singing a song, acting out a poem, or telling a story in melody)
- Non-fiction writing (e.g. an autobiography, a travel guide, or a novel)
- Poetry writing (e.g. using rhyme and meter to create poetic sentences)
- Screenplays (e.g. writing the dialogue and describing the actions of the characters)
- Short stories (e.g. using dialogue and a minimal number of scenes to create an immediate sense of atmosphere and character)
- Journalistic articles (e.g. analyzing an event through the use of objective reporting)
- Argumentative essays (e.g. presenting an opinion or point of view about an issue)
- Dance scripts (e.g. writing the dialogue and actions for a choreographed dance)
- Composition notebooks (e.g. structuring ideas and content, using descriptive words, and making effective use of transition words)
- Presentations (e.g. creating a power point presentation, designing a webpage, or designing a business letter)
The above list includes just some of the different forms of creative writing that teachers can encourage their students to try. When presented with a variety of options, children often wonder what will be expected of them. This makes them more eager to learn. For example, after being asked to write a short story about a vacation to the moon, one child responded with, “Well, if it’s about a trip to the moon, then it has to be a bit of a magic trick, right? Because it’s impossible to get there.” While this may seem like a cop-out answer, the child was eager to contribute and see what other forms of creative writing she could produce!
Use Games And Competitions
Another effective and engaging way to encourage creative writing is to use games and competitions. Children love competition, and having a game where they can show off their creative side is a great way to stimulate their brains and get them writing! Some examples of popular games that teachers can use to encourage their students to write include:
- Mad libs (e.g. a storytelling game where players put words in the blank spots of a made-up conversation; this game is great because it allows children to discover the magic of making up stories, improvising, and being creative with language)
- Scissors paper rock (e.g. a traditional drawing/painting competition where the best artwork is displayed and admired by the teachers and the children enjoy the creative process and the resulting creative outlet)
- Word salad (e.g. a group of players take it in turns to make up words by combining letters at random; this is a good game for students who have trouble focusing for long stretches of time)
- Hotel Chocolat (e.g. the objective of the game is to come up with the best story about what happened in a given location during a specific time period; the location can be any period or event in history, such as the French Revolution or the Civil War)
Games and competitions are a great way of getting children motivated to write. This is because they can see the results of their work right away, which is something that often works better for young students than waiting for long-term grades. This is also one of the reasons why teachers should always strive to include games and activities in their lesson plans. Another great advantage of these activities is that they allow teachers to discover new things about their students that they may not have known prior to the game. For example, it is not uncommon for children to be quiet and reserved until they have something to say, but once they have started playing games there is usually a lot more to them than you would have guessed!
Create Individualized Writing Programs
Another method of encouraging creative writing that can be incredibly effective is to create a personalized writing program for each student. This could include things like putting together a specific space in your school for each child to write, providing specific tools and technology for the class to use, or even just giving each student a different colored pen so they can practice using different colored ink to represent different emotions. The important thing is that each child has an individual program that is specifically designed to help them become the best writer they can be!
Getting children to think of writing as a creative skill that can be fun to practice and improve upon is a great way to get them thinking about writing. It can encourage them to participate, learn, and enjoy themselves while also improving their skills and developing new ones along the way.