Some kids love them while other kids hate them. Some kids can write—or talk—nonstop with very little prompting. A single word or thought is enough to get them going. But what can you do if your child doesn’t love words or hates writing?
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One thing that seems to come naturally to most kids, whether they love words or not, is a love of stories. Kids all have stories to share, even though it takes longer to find the stories in some kids than others. The first step to overcoming the writing prompt hurdle is to stop seeing the prompts as writing prompts and shift to story prompts. If a child who doesn’t like to write knows a writing assignment is attached, it will likely stifle their creativity. They’ll waste energy dreading the assignment instead of enjoying creatively coming up with a story.
Where to Find Prompts
There are hundreds of places to find free or inexpensive writing prompts to fill your idea bank and give you ways to prompt your child to create a story. If you are working with a reluctant writer, it’s best to keep these books tucked away so they don’t know what you’re trying to get them to do.
Another place to find story prompts is in everyday objects. Take any two objects common to your child’s daily life and set them at odds with each other. For example, at breakfast, how would your child respond if you asked him, “What would cereal do if it was afraid of milk?” Or at lunch, “What would happen in the cupboard if the peanut butter had a fight with the jelly?”
The main idea is to get them curious and thinking. Then listen to what they say. Ask more questions and help gently lead them to go deeper and deeper with the story. Most of all, have fun with it. Don’t turn breakfast into a full-fledged class period. Just enjoy hearing what they come up with. Once you get them used to imagining scenarios and sharing them with you, they will have more confidence when it comes time to write things down.
Imagine a week after your cereal and milk story when it comes time to write. They say they don’t know what to write or where to start. You ask them if they remember that funny story they told about the cereal and milk. (They may need some reminders if they don’t!) Then help them write that story down. Suddenly, they have a story with a beginning, middle, and end, and it wasn’t as hard as they thought.
Another natural place to find opportunities for story prompts is with “How?” questions. Imagine your eight-year-old loves building things with plastic bricks. One day, you and he build a pizzeria. A few days later, he needs the blocks for another project and takes the pizzeria apart. He tells you the pizzeria had been lost in a fire. Later, as he’s talking about what he built, he says it was lost in a flood. You’ve got two different scenarios; see if he can connect them. Ask him how it was lost in both a flood and a fire. He might just surprise you—after all, electricity doesn’t like water, so the flood could have easily started a fire. Look for opportunities to ask your child “How?” questions and let them devise their own stories to answer.
Another source of “How?” questions is giving inanimate objects human characteristics and wondering how they would feel if a particular thing happened. For example, at the grocery store, you see a bin full of apples. You can ask your child, “How do you think an apple would feel if it was the last one in the bin, but nobody picked it?” Or you could ask, “How do you think you would feel if you were an apple who didn’t like crowded places?” These quickly lend themselves to “What?” questions. If you were an apple that didn’t like crowds, what would you do? Would you try to escape?
Remember that the goal of writing isn’t only the writing and recording of information. It’s also to stimulate creativity and help students become comfortable expressing themselves through words. Opportunities for that abound, and once your child gets used to thinking of stories and expressing them with words verbally, you’ll find that expressing them in written form comes much easier.
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Spark a story in the imaginations of your kids today! From a squirrel with a bad sense of direction to the most unexpected discovery in a puddle, this set of 10 writing prompts includes themed notebooking pages to capture your child’s story. These fun writing prompts can help you add some creativity to your child’s writing assignments and get them using their imaginations. 23 pages total. Bonnie is offering her Writing Prompts about Spring FREE for a limited time only thru Tuesday, April 7, 2020!
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Bonnie Rose Hudson’s heart’s desire is for every child to feel the love of God and know how special they are to Him. She publishes free and low-cost resources in several subjects including language arts, science, history, and more. She would love for you to explore her curriculum and grab great freebies at her site, WriteBonnieRose.com. You will also find resources there to help teach your children about missions and the persecuted Church and information about her newest release from JourneyForth, The Hidden Village, an early reader set in India. She’d love to connect with you on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram.
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