Many kids enter school with an enthusiasm for reading and for listening to stories – but what about writing?
It may seem like a daunting task for our young ones to learn to come up with their own storylines and characters. However, just like how a muscle is exercised and becomes stronger, our kids can also exercise their creative muscles to help them become better writers.
Why is creative writing important for Primary 3 children?
After three years of primary school education, it is safe to say that your children will have gotten the hang of what it is all about, only to find that things may start getting tougher as they progress towards upper primary.
On a practical note, the composition segment of the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) paper is a significant one and may cause some concern to those who do not write often. However, a child who has a flair for writing and who is comfortable with creative writing will have little difficulty tackling this segment.
Furthermore, creative writing is an excellent way for children to express their thoughts and feelings freely on the page. Studies show that creative writing helps to boost children’s confidence and imagination, as well as promotes better writing skills.
Encourage your children to read widely
The first step to writing might be a surprising one – read! Exposing your kids to a wide range of children’s literature is the best way to get their creative juices flowing. By experiencing the worlds that authors have created, children will begin to understand instinctively how to build a storyline and how characters can be developed.
Reading voraciously also enables children to internalise the grammatical structure and build a wide range of vocabulary – two things that are essential in writing. If you are not much of a reader yourself, or if your child is not quite ready for creative writing classes, consider sending your child to a reading programme like the one at MindChamps, where books are curated especially for a growing reader and teachers guide the children through specially designed literacy activities.
Use prompts to get your Primary 3 child started on creative writing
Prompts are a very useful part of creative writing. As the word implies, a prompt helps to kickstart the writing process by giving your children a scenario or a word to think about. A single idea can lead our minds into all sorts of interesting directions without forcing strict parameters or guidelines on them, which is what we want with creative writing.
Prompts can be anything from a word, a question, or even a picture. The main idea of a prompt is to get a child to start thinking out of the box and to avoid the dreaded writer’s block. The wonderful thing is that your children can respond to these prompts anywhere – in the car on the way home, or at the dinner table. Ask them an open-ended question like “What would you do if you could turn yourself invisible?” Bonus points for family bonding through the animated conversation that is sure to follow!
Write first, edit later
Some parents may be too fixated on the hardware rather than the software – meaning that they are more concerned about grammar and spelling than they are about how fascinating and original a child’s plot or characters may be.
With creative writing, the focus should be on ‘creative’ first, rather than ‘writing’. In fact, interrupting their train of thought to correct their errors may have a detrimental effect on their writing process.
Give your child the freedom and leeway to make mistakes while they hone their imaginations to a sharp edge. Allow them to fully flesh out their ideas until they are happy with the story they have created. Appreciate their creativity and originality, and only then go back and get them to fix any bloopers they may have made. Keep creative writing a positive experience for your primary 3 child so that it does not become a chore. In a similar fashion, the MindChamps Writing Programme seeks to remind children that writing is fun and to instil in them a joy of writing.
Your primary 3 child can certainly become a better writer if allowed the freedom of expression needed to fully realise the skill of creative writing!
Written by JoBeth Williams