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Literature has been used for millennia as a way to understand our history and where we have come from. The context in which great works of literature or indeed, any work – always reflected the sociopolitical and cultural milieu of the times. It is no wonder, then, that these works have been immortalized and revered. What many people don’t realize is that it has another function. English teachers across the globe are teaching creative writing using literature. After all, what can be better to inspire young minds with? This article will take you through some practical steps to instill the love of writing in your child. Incorporate these ideas in your classroom and watch as your student writes up a storm!
Draw a Map
Drawing a map may seem almost too simple and quite possibly unrelated to writing. However, this cannot be further from the truth. Indeed, one of the most important elements of a story is the setting. For children, this should translate to something tangible. You can pick any book for this – perhaps a book where the characters visit multiple locations like a treasure hunt. The idea is then to make a map of the places that have been covered. Importantly, they don’t have to get the places right. Instead, make them think about how the characters got there or how better they could have travelled. Perhaps tell them to make a map of a completely different location and ask them how the characters would behave in a new environment.
Write a story from another Character’s perspective
As we all know, perspective-taking is an important life skill in general and there’s a way to develop this via creative writing. Simply, pick a book, perhaps Gulliver’s Travels, and set your child a writing prompt. How would the story look if it were told from the point of view of the Lilliputians i.e., little men who found Gulliver instead of Gulliver himself? This can be adapted to different age groups where older children can examine the motivations of a secondary character and younger ones could focus on the actions and feelings.
Use a prop to tell a story
This is geared towards young children who may not be fluent in writing yet, but one can never start too early! This activity is best achieved using a prop from your child’s favorite book. For example, it can be Stuart Little’s miniature car or Harry Potter’s magical wand. You could even ask your child to help build the prop as a fun arts and crafts activity. Using the prop, ask your child to imagine what he or she would use it for.
Use Animals to tell a fable
When we think about animals being incorporated into children’s stories, we think about authors like Rudyard Kipling or Enid Blyton. Using animals is a great way to tell a story with moral values. Think about ‘The Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing’ or ‘The Hare and the Tortoise’. Ask your child to think of an animal and a good trait it might have to write a story.