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Writing stories in EY

Discussion in 'Early Years' started by acey, May 30, 2012.

  1. acey

    acey New commenter

    Hi,
    I am writing this as a parent, who doesn't know an awful lot about expectations in early years.

    My daughter has been writing a story over the last few days. She came home with a muddled story that her teacher had told her that part of it wasn't very good so she rubbed it out and helped her. She said that she found it hard to write it and in particular she finds it hard to come up with ideas and think a story through. She is great at writing if she knows what to write. I think this made her not want to write, she then messed up her handwriting and just generally couldn't be bothered.

    Are children at the end of reception generally able to write their own short stories? Should I be worried that she doesn't have ideas for her stories at this stage?
     
  2. acey

    acey New commenter

    Hi,
    I am writing this as a parent, who doesn't know an awful lot about expectations in early years.

    My daughter has been writing a story over the last few days. She came home with a muddled story that her teacher had told her that part of it wasn't very good so she rubbed it out and helped her. She said that she found it hard to write it and in particular she finds it hard to come up with ideas and think a story through. She is great at writing if she knows what to write. I think this made her not want to write, she then messed up her handwriting and just generally couldn't be bothered.

    Are children at the end of reception generally able to write their own short stories? Should I be worried that she doesn't have ideas for her stories at this stage?
     
  3. InkyP

    InkyP Star commenter

    Some of my most able children are writing stories now, some of them fill an A4 page or more. They do tend to ramble a bit and repeat themselves, though, as it's quite difficult for children of this age to hold the story in their heads and still deal with the mechanics of writing involved. Perhaps the teacher was just trying to help your daughter think her story through and wasn't intending to criticize.
    To help her with ideas you could try making up stories together without the pressure of writing them, taking turns to say what happened next. If she wants the story recorded you could scribe it for her. The talking part is very important at this stage.

     
  4. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    Absolutely not. I've never really understood why any child is expected to write a good story. Not everyone has the instincts of a novelist.
     
  5. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    Yes, that would be fun. What you want to instil is a sense of story, and that comes from familiarity with the themes and common plot lines of stories that they hear/read/see/etc

    And as for their writing, if you ask me there is much too much emphasis on 'genre' and not enough on the simple mechanics - the mechanics that they'd soon become familiarised with if they only heard enough stories!
     
  6. Leapyearbaby64

    Leapyearbaby64 New commenter

    I hope I've not got low expectations (!), but we do our story work verbally too. The first couple of times, we took known texts and made changes to them (eg a different main character) and then followed the structure of the story. Then we've done guided sessions where we've created our own characters for a story in groups. I agree with Inky that the emphasis on genre is OTT - perhaps I would go as far as to say the emphasis on genre in the NLS/NLF has perhaps CAUSED the writing issues we seem to have. Children don't have time to become confident writers of sentences before they are bombarded with a requirement to write sets of instructions or a non-chronological report. It's madness.
     
  7. acey

    acey New commenter

    Hi again
    Thanks for the replies. Some of your ideas are great and I shall try them with her. Around the tea table is often a good time to get her thinking in this way, otherwise she is usually too "busy."
    I teach upper KS2 and agree that there is far too much emphasis on genre even then. Who cares that they cannot write a magazine come biographical article when they are shaky on some of the basics.
    My daughter has been identified as gifted in reading and writing and I guess I'm just worried that she will plateau. Although she is a fluent reader and can write in sentences with beautiful handwriting (when she wants) and spelling that's getting better that she lacks the real creative flair and thinking skills necessary to be truly gifted. Overly paranoid mother alert! I should stop thinking!! I suppose I just want to compare her with other "gifted" children to see if this is a common problem at this stage.
    But like I say, I think and worry too much. I'm proud of my daughter, she's happy and that's all that matters!! [​IMG]
     
  8. acey - your little lass isn't even in school yet!
     
  9. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    Sorry, OP, but I think you're being ridiculous. I'm not just blaming you - the idea that children should be 'good' at writing stories is itself ridiculous - but that you should think your daughter's future will be badly affected by her lack of 'flair' in this single direction makes my blood boil.
    And as for thinking of this lack of flair as a 'problem' - you'e got to be joking!

    Good: a ruck. It's been ages since I've been involved in a good one.[​IMG]
     
  10. Just think of the amount of imagination and creativity that goes into writing a story! Most established writers would freely admit that their writing owes a debt to all the other writers they have read, and that nothing is truly original. Then think about this little girl's exposure, of a tiny number of years, to stories and books. And at the same time she is in the process of mastering the technical aspects of writing and spelling! If the teacher expects some sort of original story to emerge from this background she must be bonkers. I think most teachers would be aware that children need to practise the craft of writing stories, and that starts with writing stories they know very well and can tell orally, whether it is about a day out they have had, or a well-known nursery story. And a lot of work has to go into producing these; most children do not have the writing stamina to just sit down and write the whole of Little Red Riding Hood, for instance.So, OP, if you want to support your child in developing imagination which may eventually lead to effective story writing do lots of role play and small world play making up scenarios, give her lots of rich experiences, talk to her and tell her stories, make up stories with her, and read lots of books. Children love stories about when their parents were children, and little anecdotes about themselves as babies. Don't expect her to produce well-plotted, complete stories just yet, allow her to enjoy story to build the foundations.
     
  11. Are Inky and Inky P related?
    Did I just read something about some woman being worried that their 4 year old was showing insufficient flair in their writing. I wouldn't worry her peers are probably crawling around their reception class hurling books in the book corner and scrawling their names with a stone.
     
  12. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    No, BrainJim, we're not, though I don't blame you for asking. The similarity in our names and the fact that we so often think alike are purely coincidental. When InkyP started posting, we PMed each other and she very kindly offered to change her username but I asked her not to, because she's so nice as she is.



     
  13. I saw a psychological thriller a bit like this. When someone began to imitate someone they met. Spoiler Alert -the maniac killed them. Just be on your guard. Of all the billions and trillions of usernames possible Inkyp could think of nothing more elaborate than to stick a p on the end. P stands for psycho perhaps?
    Although not as mad as the original post.
     
  14. InkyP

    InkyP Star commenter

    It means something to me but to tell you would identify me. To be honest, it's a bit too easy anyway to anyone who might know me in real life. I hadn't encountered inky when I joined TES but it turns out we have a lot in common.
     
  15. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    InkyP, BrainJIm clearly didn't read my post.
    ******.
     
  16. InkyP

    InkyP Star commenter

    He lives in a fantasy world of his own anyway.

     
  17. acey

    acey New commenter

    Blimey. A reaction.
    Firstly I'm not ridiculous, neither am I "some woman" nor am I mad. My daughter is at school and she is 5, not 4.
    Secondly, I'm only saying something that the teacher has said to me. Probably wouldn't have thought much of it otherwise. And she is right, children do plateau later sometimes. Those who are amazing fluent readers early *can* then stop being quite so high-achieving when dealing with complex inference and deduction. Some amazing writers are held back later when they lack creativity and imagination in their writing.
    Also, if my daughter is being assessed in writing at a 2c then surely beginnings, middles and ends start to need to be developed so then the teacher (who is brilliant by the way, sensitive, inspiring and liked very much by my daughter) is only doing the right thing in helping her to progress. Also the teacher wouldn't have rubbed out the ending if she wasn't wanting her to achieve some kind of structure in her writing. So therefore it isn't just me being "ridiculous" and OTT. There is obviously some requirement for *some* children in rec to begin to understand and use a growing sense of plot, therefore showing some kind of creative flair.
    I was just asking if most children find this hard at first and whether it does grow over time. And quite clearly the answer is "yes probably."
    Thanks for the other suggestions. I'm sure that they will come in handy at some point.
    But I'm certainly not out for a "ruck" thanks. Not tonight, it's friday and it's half-term.
     
  18. Personally think it is irrelevant. My duaghter didnt begin reading and phonics until she is now 6. I didn't want her writing stories in reception, I wanted her hearing them. I want a long, slow absorption, an input before an output, a rain and distillation before an outflow......
     

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