As a teacher for the past 26 years, I have encountered my fair share of reluctant writers. I have put together my 5 favourite fool-proof ways to really engage those reluctant writers.
https://Literacyshed.com is a firm favourite of mine. There are so many amazing images and wonderful short animated films to provide so many starting points for writing. Children love to scroll through and select an image that appeals to them. I use these to provide a stimulus for descriptive writing, to create a setting for a story, or to retell an animated story. Many of my students have produced some wonderful work using material from this site.
The collection is organised in different ‘sheds’, including The Fantasy Shed, The History Shed and The Shedful of Animations to name but a few. The collection is immense and well-worth having a look at.
I have recently used the ‘Bubbles’ animation with several of my students. I am amazed at the superb stories my young writers have written. They focused on emotions and used the ‘show-don’t tell’ method to describe the feelings and actions of the characters in the animation. I love using these simple short films to inspire my students.
I love using https://www.storyjumper.com . Children can create an online book and add their own illustrations, use images from a bank or upload their own. The pages of the book turn on the screen, allowing them to feel like real publishers. Children can upload any photographs or images to include in their books. This is really helpful for students who may need some persuasion to write – I have used this site with students to produce non-fiction writing about something they find interesting. There is, of course, the opportunity to use their own digital art and upload it to illustrate their story. The sky is the limit!
There is an option to pay for a printed version of any books you create, which again provides the opportunity to write for a real audience.
https://Storyboardthat.com is a fun site where you can make your own storyboard or comic strip. There are different scenes to choose from, a variety of characters to add and many other features including adding speech bubbles, infographics and changing the layout. This is a wonderful initial step in story-building, giving reluctant writers the tools to play with settings and characters, helping to formulate a story, which they can later write, based on their very own storyboard.
Although not technically a writing site, https://storynory.com provides a wide range of free audio stories. I like to use audio stories as a starting point for writing. I often ask my students to simply retell a story in their own words, or to change the story so there is a different setting, character or outcome. Storynory is one of many free audio story sites that are currently available. Exploring these types of stories as a way into writing is a great way to model story structure for children and to highlight different features of stories, allowing them to echo these in their own writing.
If you are looking for a variety of resources to inspire young writers, https://topmarks.co.uk never fails to impress. You can find resources covering a variety of genres, from writing instructions to producing poetry. There are even resources showing how to improve children’s use of grammar, including how to enhance writing skills using similes. Scroll through the pages – I am sure you will find plenty of interesting games and resources to help your child enjoy the writing process!
Emerald Education Centre offers online tuition and in-person lessons at our centre in Bundoran, Donegal. For more information about how we can help YOUR child, please do get in touch with Elaine Lingard at email@example.com, check out our Facebook page or visit our website.