Teach Your Children To Turn Blank Pages Into Wonderful Stories – Start With These 5 Ways!

Retro effect and toned image of a woman hand writing a note with a fountain pen on a notebook. Handwritten text Tell Your Story as business concept image

When children first begin to write and put their creative ideas down on paper with words and art, those ideas are often disjointed. They scribble down thoughts and tear pages out of their notepads to work on something new. Their thoughts do not connect and their artwork may not match the words.

As they age, children begin piecing those random thoughts together and over time, they miraculously become stories.

On page 9 of Reading Is Fun! Imagine That! I entice children with these thoughts and questions:

“What unusual things can you think of that could make an imaginative story? Ideas can make impossible things seem real. New thoughts are interesting for others to read, and drawings can make them seem real. What unusual ideas do you have that would be fun to write about and draw for others to enjoy?”

My book is filled with thought-provoking questions such as these. In this case, I encourage you to read this passage to your child and work on a story with illustrations together, keeping one word in mind: unusual.

Unusual can mean mysterious or odd, but in this case, I urge you to tap into the other meanings of “unusual” in your child’s imaginations. Curious. Extraordinary. Unexpected. These are the inner workings of a brilliant story and who has more “unusual” thoughts than a child?

Because starting a story isn’t always the easiest thing to do, I came up with a few ideas to get your child’s creative juices flowing.

  • Prompt them: Ask your child to think about what the strangest or maybe silliest day would be for them and have them write it down. Perhaps have them write this: The funniest thing happened at school today…” and see what comes out! When they get stuck, help them continue their story with another question.
  • Help them create a character and setting: Ask them where they’d like their story to take place – maybe it’s in a park, at the zoo, on the moon, or at their school. Try not to navigate this for them. Let them think as long and as hard as they need to in order to come up with a place that their story will take place. Do the same thing for one of the characters in the story. Will it be a person? An animal? An imaginary creature they make up? The options are endless!
  • Start with a picture: Encourage your child to draw something, anything that they want to write about. Then ask them to explain the drawing to you and then write about it!
  • Read with them and take it from there: One of the most important things a child can do is read in order to expand their imagination and challenge their minds. Read some of your child’s favorite books with them and discuss them. Ask them where the story takes place, who the main characters are, what the main conflict is, etc. Then ask them to think about those story characteristics in their own writing. Appreciating the stories that other people write is a wonderful way to encourage your child to read and become inspired by the works of others.
  • Use real life as inspiration! Outside the realm of imagination and fantasy is nonfiction, and an easy way to generate story ideas is to ask your child to think about her/his own life and then use that material! Talk to them about what they do at school, who their friends are, what their favorite things are, what their challenges might be, etc. They can write about their day at school or a fun day playing in their backyard with their neighborhood friends. And what a wonderful way to preserve these memories, too!

As children get older and become avid storytellers, blank pages can be overwhelming. Starting them early with these tips and any others you can come up with will build a solid foundation for your young writers. And it’s a skill they can carry throughout their life!

Happy Valentine’s Day,

Ruth A. Radmore




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