If you are requiring your child to write something every day and he is running out of fresh material, ask him to complete a story. Sometimes having the beginning established takes the pressure off of the writer.
Dad was away on a business trip. Mom and little brother were in bed with the flu and their fever wasn’t going down. An announcement came over the radio that rabies was on the rise. From her bed Mother asked her two young daughters to check the doors before all retired for the evening. They found the back sliding-glass door caked with ice – the latch couldn’t lock. They tried opening it wide and slamming it shut to crack the ice. This activity attracted the attention of a rabid dog that some men were tracking in the dark. It was staring at them through the glass.
I left them, pencils in hand, to continue with the story as I prepared lunch, because very soon we needed to run out to music lessons. They worked quietly and quickly at the kitchen table with a real sense of purpose…. I also observed no dawdling, pencil biting, or other signs of restless fiddling. What they wrote wasn’t long. Each wrote one paragraph that was brief but concentrated. The results were remarkable!
Here are ways to incorporate this inspiring writing idea in your homeschool:
- Create your own story starters. Sometimes shared family stories or funnies make perfect beginnings. We were once reading a book, the title of which one of the members of our family thought was “winged watermelons.” It became so funny in conversation that writing a story about watermelons that could fly was an easy assignment.
- Try a few of the many story starters online. Sometimes when we are busy, tired or otherwise non-creative, we can use some help. There are many story starters online. You’ll find a sampling below.
- Use a short story. Begin a short story with which your child is unfamiliar. Leave off just at the climax of the story, and ask him to finish it. Some of the early readers are set up very well for this activity.
- Purchase a book of story starters. There are several on the market. See our recommendation below.
Great interactive at Scholastic.
Three stories in this downloadable worksheet.
Writing Bug: A Noise in the Attic
From Education World.
Finish the Story
Unique story starter created to illustrate a Biblical principle.
Reading Literature: Fourth Reader
Filled with good stories that can be used to “finish the story” as described above.
Story Starters by Karen Andreola
Ready for more? From the author of A Charlotte Mason Companion and A Pocketful of Pinecones, this work has as its goal “helping children write like they’ve never written before.” Suspended in the middle of a predicament, your child decides what will happen next. Cathy Duffy has an in-depth review.
You might also appreciate a few of our other writing ideas.