You may know that the Radio Two Five Hundred Words story competition is running again this year. Last entries are on 27th February 2014.
You can find out the details here.
Our school tries to support all the children who are interested in sending in a story with a series of workshops at lunch times designed to inspire the children and give them the space to write their stories with confidence and imagination.
There are all kinds of things you can do to inspire children.
So much of what children take in these days is visual. We are a much more visual society than ever before in terms of how we understand and store information. Using visual prompts to fire a child’s imagination can be really helpful.
A suggestion for getting children inspired in terms of what they want to write about is to collect a series of evocative images that you can share with children. Using a social media site like Pinterest can help you do this very simply, and provides a great one stop shop for searching for images.
You could then project these images onto a smart screen and use them as conversational prompts with the children to get them talking about what could be happening in the picture, or even what happened before the picture was taken, or what might happen after the picture was taken.
You could select a few images and work through them quite slowly, or choose a higher number of images and cycle through them quite rapidly, depending on how able you think your children will be at grasping what they are supposed to be doing. It might be that if this is the first time you have done this type of thing, you want to take one image and discuss it in depth, and then move on to showing a kaleidoscope of images that the children can choose from.
You could set an image as homework for the children to write a story around. Feedback on this type of assignment is important as it helps to show how much individual and creative material can come from one single image. If you give the same picture to a class of thirty children for example, it is very likely that unless the children do their homework together, that they will come up with thirty wildly different stories.
Understanding how much creative material can be generated from one picture can be a valuable lesson for children. It can teach them the scope of their own imaginations, and the freedom that creative writing can inspire in them.