My kids enjoy writing stories. They often take a book they have read and then recreate their own version of it or they just create random stories. And I must be honest I have enjoyed watching them do their own writing so I have largely left them to just go for it (we have a massive collection of books they have filled with their own stories). They know about the basic story mountain that you always hear about but that is really it. We never covered things like creating a character or setting a scene (although they have actually picked up quite a bit on their own).
But this year all we decided that we would take their writing up a level and find something to work through. We wanted something that would cover characters, settings, different styles of writing but nothing that involved too much writing (yes that may sound strange – my youngest is not keen on doing long worksheets but he is happy to sit and write his own stories and I didn’t want to destroy that enjoyment of writing by giving him lots of worksheets).
I had a look around and chose the Understanding English: Fiction: KS2 English Study Book, Ages 7-11.
We have used this series a lot and it works well with us because it is nice and concise. It is a Key Stage 2 workbook but I must admit I bought a copy for both my kids to work through (they would be year 4 and year 7 if they attended school).
Straight up – this is not going to cover everything and I did not expect it too. Fiction is a large topic and you could go on and on about all kinds of detail. This is a 39 page workbook (costs under £5) which highlights some key aspects about writing, gives the kids ideas on how to extend and improve both their understanding of what they read and their writing and then you can always take it further if you want.
So what do I like about this workbook? I like the way they talk about creating characters and giving character clues in your writing. I love that they use extracts of well-known stories to show the kids how something can be achieved.
I also liked the fact that they show 3 standard forms of story writing and explain you how you set them up – a traditional tale, fables and a modern retelling. I liked that they spoke about the different genres. Also the sections about setting a mood and creating tension and suspense. And I really like that they included a circular story structure instead of the much used story mountain. So yes I think it is well worth the price I paid for it and I do think it gets the kids thinking and yes as always we don’t only use this workbook in isolation. We used it and then extended certain activities as we wanted. But it does make a really good base and it pointed me in the right direction to help the kids.
What exactly is covered?
- Character clues (creating your character)
- Mood and atmosphere
- Story Openings
- Exploring points of views
- Using dialogue
- Writing a Play
- Traditional Stories
- Plotting out main events
- A modern retelling
- Comparing stories
- Story structure (circular story structure)
- Plotting your story
- Reader response
- Tension and suspense
- Genre conventions
I have found this a very useful resource and my kids are quite happy working through it (no complaints).
Admin – I bought these books for us to use in our home education. This is not an ad.
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