Children in Singapore begin learning to write compositions in Primary One and hence, writing is very new to most primary school students. It might be difficult for them to understand how they can go about crafting a good creative composition.
Creative writing often involves using fruitful imagination to come up with interesting fictional stories or pieces. Children often begin learning creative writing in primary school first as it allows them to exercise their creative juices, before moving on to factual essays in secondary school.
As a tutor, you may be so used to higher levels of writing such as essays and reports, and wondering how you can teach the fundamental concepts of creative writing to your young students.
I’ve consolidated some tips for you to help your primary school students learn creative writing effectively!
Planning the story
As the saying goes: if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Always remind your students how important planning is.
They need to have a clear outline of the story that they want to write before they begin, or it would result in a major problem if they realise a discrepancy in their story in the midst of writing.
Make sure that they have the most important stages of a story: the introduction, problem, climax, and resolution. The content needs to be attention-grabbing and logical enough.
To ensure that they don’t detest planning and find the process a chore, give them fun templates to fill in on how they want their story to go.
At this stage, you should help them to identify any illogical or unrealistic events in their stories and guide them in the right direction. This is because young students often don’t have enough exposure to real-life events yet.
This is where you can guide them with your experience. By identifying their loopholes, you can help them bridge their understanding of concepts.
If you’re having difficulty understanding their planning, it is a sign for you to probe further and get them to rephrase their words in a better manner. If they can’t express clarity in their planning, chances are that they will probably have problems in their story writing too.
Creating the Characters
It is important to remind your students to have their ideas for the characters in their story before they begin to write: what are their roles and personalities?
The student has to ensure that they uphold their individual characters’ consistent personalities throughout the whole story, or the story would not sound realistic or convincing enough.
A character’s personality shines through from their tone, actions and thoughts, so you should advise your student to give focus to how they portray their character in their writing.
Expose them to stories in fun ways
Writing and its ideation process can be daunting for young students. Instead of just making them read through model compositions that they might not be able to understand, give them other forms of delivery of good plot ideas.
A fun activity is to let them watch short clips or shows with interesting storylines regularly. Young students will definitely find it fun and look forward to them. Then, come up with worksheets or templates for them to analyse the plots: what made the story interesting?
With more exposure to stories and interesting plots, students will soon get the hang of it and learn to come up with their own.
Improve the Foundation of their English Language
In any form of writing, vocabulary and grammar are important. But students may not know where to start and how to improve.
It is a good idea to start small and give them bite-sized worksheets to improve their vocabulary and grammar.
For vocabulary, synonyms are key in avoiding repetition and sustaining the interest of the reader. You could come up with exercises to link synonyms together so that your students can be exposed to more words.
You can also try introducing groups of commonly-used descriptive words on a regular basis so that it is easy for your student to digest them.
Regular grammar exercises are useful for you to identify your student’s mistakes before they bring them forward to their stories.
Creative writing scares off many students, and even tutors, because they have the preconception that it is a strenuous process.