January – March 2016

‘Learning From the Experts’

Short Story Writing - Realistic Fiction

When we ask young writers what they would like to write, nine times out of ten they say ‘stories’. I wasn’t at all surprised by the reactions of my students last week, when I announced that the unit of work for the coming term would be story writing - they smiled, clapped and cheered and were desperate to know exactly what we would be studying!

As we all know, reading stories is a relatively easy task for most of our young students, but, when it comes to writing stories, it is quite a different matter! Story writing doesn’t come easily to most of us; young students - as well as most adults - cannot write high quality stories without explicit instruction. Next term we will be giving students the tools they need to write an effective short realistic story.

Throughout my teaching career I have discovered that one of the best ways to engage children in the story writing process is to free up their imaginations and unlock their potential for writing by encouraging them to write stories that really matter to them - with characters and plots they care about.  In this course we will present students with suggestions about the types of stories they may want to write, but ultimately, it will be up to them to make that choice.

As well as using a class novel to help our young readers learn from a mentor writer, we’ll be inviting your children to find authors who inspire them. The students will be asked to bring their favourite novels along to classes, where we will have short ‘writerly’ discussions about what it is that real writers do to make their stories effective.

Skills and Strategies we will revisit next term:

Strategies and skills we learned this term that will be revised and extended next term (of course, students who attended our ‘People and Places’ course will have a huge advantage next term):

·  Using real life ‘scenarios’ to write effective story scenes

·  Using sensory details to bring story scenes to life

·  Using sensory details and emotions to bring characters to life

·  Using surprising ‘just right’ details

·  Finding the best vocabulary possible

New Skills and Strategies to be introduced next term:

·      How to find powerful ideas for stories

·      How to use a story mountain/planner

·      How to connect character to plot

·      How to flesh out characters to bring them to life

·      How to get to know characters through their actions by using 'Show not Tell’

·      How to write a great story opening

·      How to link the opening to the ending of the story

·      How to using dialogue effectively (not as a filler!)

·      How to use the rubber band strategy to stretch out a story scene

·      How to use setting to orientate the reader throughout the story

·      How to use tension and repetition effectively

·      How to revise with the lens of a reader

·      How to read like a writer and write like a reader

Registration is now open for January 2016. Students are accepted on a first come first served basis, with priority given to those are currently attending our workshops. Contact Mrs. Gill at info@primarymattershk.com or call Marion on 94654468/25261153 for more information.

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