Teach children how to write a narrative story

Teach children how to write a narrative story – KS1 and KS2

In this article I want to think about how to teach children to write a narrative story. I am more interested in the ways we can encourage children to write their own story that they are excited by than specific grammar issues which vary depending on the age of the child and what curriculum they are following.

(Disclosure – most of the links on this page other than the website recommendations go to Amazon UK and I get a small percentage from them which helps to pay towards to cost of maintaining my websites.)

5-7 year olds

At home I would be looking mainly to concentrate on talking and reading.

Spend time with your child and then talking about their experiences. If you go somewhere can they tell you in what order they did things? What was their favourite aspect of the trip?

Ask them to describe things to you. Get them to use their senses, ask them what something looks like, including colour, shape, whether it looks rough or smooth. Does it make a noise, either on its own or when it comes into contact with something else? Describe any sounds heard. What does it feel like? Does it have a smell? Is it pleasant?

Who did they come into contact with? Could they tell what work people did? What were the clues? What could they tell about people’s characters?

Make this a 2-way process. Give the children your thoughts on these subjects, in a natural chatty way.

When reading books with your child and discuss the story, the characters and the environments. Don’t just read the words but spend time looking at the pictures. What do they notice? Do the pictures tell the same story as the words or do they suggest something different.
Use pictures books such as Guess How much I Love You, The Tiger Who Came to Tea, Five Minutes’ Peace, Funnybones, The Jolly Postman, Burglar Bill or Not Now, Bernard!

These have all stood the test of time and with good reason.


Owl Babies
Practise telling some stories orally. Ask your child to choose one of the books and tell the story using the pictures as prompts, asking further questions if needed. The questions don’t need to just be about the story, you could ask what they thought a character did at the weekend, what their favourite food might be, what they would like for Christmas or would your child like them as a friend, and why or why not.

Fantasy games – make up stories which your children about their favourite toys.

You can buy packs of themed animals eg ocean sea animals, jungle animals, or a pack of 24 mini-figures representing different professions or cut out some pictures from magazines or print out and cut out pictures from the internet to play with and make up stories with.

Give children nice (age-appropriate) stationary and somewhere to write. Be encouraging and take an interest in their ideas. Don’t be too critical at this stage (or at any time).

Schools often have role-play areas for writing, maybe a shop or the vets. Would your child benefit from something like this at home – even if it is only for an afternoon? Many of us will have had a post-office set of some description, here’s a fairy post-office for something more imaginative, and you could easily make your own up with different papers, envelopes, stamps and a window cut into card-board.

7-11 year olds

For the younger members of this group some of the ideas from the section above will work well, but they can make notes, write chapters etc.

The fantasy playing works very well, and the story telling can be a lot more sophisticated.

Get your child to practise dialogue with their toys before writing it. Mix and match the toys. A teddy bear could interview an astronaut. Inanimate objects could be given voices in Thomas the tank engine style.

Take photographs or short videos and use them as a stimulus to a short story. Use these to story-board the final story.

I like the opportunities offered by some of the story-telling platforms on the web.

StoryJumper https://www.storyjumper.com/ uses a variety of props to create pages, scenes, characters and other objects which then gives the children plenty of material to write about in their online books.

This video will show you how to create a StoryJumper story.


This is free to use online. There is also an option to buy a hard copy of your book.

In the StoryJumper library, you can read or listen to stories that other people have created.

Storybird https://storybird.com/ is similar to storybird in some ways but uses the work of artists to inspire the children so the books are beautiful and I suspect that there are plenty of adults having a go at writing a Storybird book. I know I did. Actually, it is worth doing this so you have some appreciation of how challenging the tasks we set our children are. Also, your children will love your book!

Here is a tutorial for Storybird:


and this tutorial concentrates on a long form book format:

Good readers make good writers.

It is useful to analyse books you read to learn lessons for when we want to write but we should all be able to just read for pleasure as well.

Giraffes Can’t Dance

Stick Man

The World’s Worst Children 3 by David Walliams,
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Getaway (book 12),

Fantastically Great Women Who Made History,

Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Joke Book
Stories for Boys Who Dare to be Different

Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls 2: 100 more stories of extraordinary women

Tom Gates: Biscuits, Bands and Very Big Plans

If you want more suggestions for books try these featured books from Amazon UK – but don’t feel you need to stick to the ages. (Some of them are in the wrong category anyway!)

Looking at picture books can lead to some great story writing for older children.

Books for 5 year olds

Books for 6 year olds

Books for 7 year olds

Books for 8 year olds

Books for 9 year olds

Books for 10 year olds

Books for 11 year olds

 

If you liked this please explore some of my other pages

How to teach multiplication tables

Affirmations I Am Enough

Online Fraction Games

Geography Teaching Resources

Do Vision Boards Work?

Dolphin Facts for Kids

Pirate Costumes for Kids

European Countries and Capitals

What do you think?

Have you got other suggestions?

Please put them and any other feedback in the comments below and enjoy working and playing with your child!

 

 

How to teach multiplication tables

How to teach multiplication tables

At some point, every parent is probably considering how to teach multiplication tables.

As both a teacher and a tutor, this was something I gave a considerable amount of thought about it.

There are lots of methods – and you will want to try different methods with different children. I suggest you bookmark this page so you can come back to it (Control +D). Don’t keep pushing a method they hate and don’t try to move too fast, especially if they are under 7. You will, no doubt, come across parents who are delighted that their children know their tables at an early age, but children are all different. The important thing is not to put them off. It really is a case of slow and steady wins the race.

(I have quite a few links on this page, some of them go to Amazon and if you purchase through these links I will receive a small percentage – but it won’t affect the price you pay. I hope you don’t mind. It helps will the costs of running this site.)

I shall divide this into very rough age sections.

6-7 years olds

Here I would concentrate on playing games.

Try creating some cards with your child to use for matching games. They don’t need to be playing card size.

Let your child choose a theme – eg Star Wars, dolphins, whatever they like. Then take one of the tables and create a few cards to match.

e.g. 

 

I have done this on PowerPoint – which makes it really easy to get the pictures from the clipart section and you can reprint anytime you want.

You could start out by just printing two sets of up to 5 x 2 and match them, counting the dolphins, ordering them and telling stories – 2 dolphins were swimming in the sea when they saw two more, so they swam over to see them. Now there were four.

This age group also like to sing songs. You can find some on Youtube for free.

Start with 2s, 5s and 10s and then if/when ready also include 3s and 4s.

Also, don’t feel you have to be doing everything at once. Try picking a few cards, eg 2 x 6, 3 x 3, 4 x 2, 5 x 5, 3 x 10, and use those to put in order, match, and play snap or war.

Some useful multiplication songs.

The 2 times table song
The 2 times table song

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another version of the same song but with the multiplier coming second.

https://youtu.be/L2wBEDDiCzQ

Reggae beatz the 2 times table
Reggae beatz the 2 times table

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click on this link to find more times tables created by Reggae Beatz.

 


Click on this link for more multiplication songs by Jack Hartmann

7-9 year olds

This is when most of the learning of tables should take place so that your children are ready for more complex multiplication and division calculations.

Fortunately, there are lots of things you can do and resources available.

Carry on playing the games suggested above but introducing new sets of cards or buy some multiplication tables games cards.

Choose a game board you have at home and write some cards for it.  For instance, if you have a trivial pursuit board you could say if you land on a yellow you have to answer a 2 times question.  If you have a monopoly board you could replace the chance and community chest question with these cards – use the money to help you answer the questions.  The object of the game could be to collect the most properties, forget about houses and hotels when you start playing.

These cards could be useful to use – SmartyMaths Times Table Flash Cards Set of 144

Here we have an interesting game you can play with an ordinary pack of cards. It’s called Tables Combination.

Try the Maths trainer at https://www.mathsisfun.com/numbers/math-trainer-multiply.html .  Start with tables already know and do a minute at a time.  Change the question cut-off to 1 day otherwise children get really disheartened. Once they know tables well try introducing the 8-second cut-off.  Some children love this – others don’t!!

Multiplication.com http://www.multiplication.com/games/all-games has a great set of arcade type games. For a mixture of tables try Granny Prix, to pick individual tables or any mixture try Pirate Multiplication but those are just my favourites. Let your child choose their own.

 

10-15 year olds

At this age, if children haven’t learnt their tables they are often really fed up of people trying to make them learn them so it is really important to try and do things which engage their interest.

Multiplication.com http://www.multiplication.com/games/all-games is popular.

This Romany method really grabs some older children and adults who have struggled – and a useful step towards learning them. Younger children are much less likely to take to this in my experience.

Learn your times tables fast This video explains which are the hardest few sums to learn and makes it feel easier to accomplish the task by breaking it down.

 

Affirmations

Mindset is so important – try using these affirmations and others you make up.

Everday in every way – I am enjoying maths more.

I am an amazing mathematician!

Each day I learn something new.

I can do anything.

I and my family are good at maths.

I didn’t know I was good at maths but I am!

 

I hope this helps!

Try to help your child enjoy the process, and try to enjoy the time you are spending with your child.

If you have comments, suggested youtube videos, games, suggestions or any questions please ask them below and I will try and answer them asap.

Home tutoring your child

relax and colour
Relax and take it easy

Home Tutoring Your Child

I am writing this to be useful to you whether your child is completely home-schooled or whether you are just looking for some extra support or ideas for your child.

Most parents are quite capable of giving their children the extra support that is useful for them particularly if they get some guidelines.

If you are very busy or your child is older and needing specialised help then you might want to consider a tutor, but you don’t need to go straight there as an option.

There is a lot of information and resources on the internet. Some are free, others you may want to pay for or make your own version.

Let me start with just a few very simple things you can do to make home tutoring your child easy to start implementing.  In later posts I will deal with these in more depth but this is just an overview to get started.

Love your child

That’s a strange one to start with.  Of course you love your child.

Sometimes when we want the best for our children there is an inclination to push them.  Try to step back and see things from their point of view.  Do they feel loved and secure?  You might want to set time aside to just spend time enjoying being with each other.

They will do better academically if they are not over-stressed and are secure.

 

Read for ten minutes a day with your child.

This is simple and pleasurable and makes a huge difference to the progress children make.

I deliberately said “read with”, not “read to” or “hear your child read”.  Do different things on different days. Support your child.

This should be a time that they look forward to spending time with you.  How you spend this time will vary depending on their age and ability.  Reading is not just about decoding words.

Talk about the story, the characters, what happens, what they like or don’t like, and the pictures. See if they have questions, whether about the words, the story or about anything else the story makes them think about.

 

Look for opportunities in everyday life to practise skills

You can do this with all ages and abilities, whether it is sending a postcard to a relative, counting out the right number of placemats for the next meal or estimating how much the shopping will be, checking the temperature, seeing how much it rose or fell, or giving reasons why they would or wouldn’t want to visit somewhere.

Children love to receive things in the post, don’t we all?  Is there a relative or friend who might send and receive items?  This might happen naturally, but if not it could be set up and be fun for both parties.

 

Growth Mindset

There is a huge amount of evidence that it is important for children to have a growth mindset.  They should understand that there are things they can’t do that because they are new but once they have worked on them then it all gets much easier.

The same applies to you of course.  You will grow in your ability to tutor your child in new and positive ways as you reflect on how you and they are progressing.

Growth Mindset by Carol Dweck

So relax and enjoy the process!

 

 

About Julia

A bit of background

Hi everyone and welcome to Tutor Your Child.

My name is Julia and I have many years of experience teaching and providing consultancy for teachers as well as working within the youth work and after-school sector.

I live in the UK so I use British spelling.

I now work independently and have recently become available for online coaching sessions.

Outside of working I enjoy reading, socialising, and spending time with people. I would like to do more travelling – don’t we all.

 

Why this website?

I love spending time on the internet.

Spending time with people is one of my favourite things to do and that’s why coaching is such a great fit for me, but I also love the resources etc. that the internet gives us all.

I also like to share what I discover – and this website gives me the opportunity to do it with a much wider audience than my coaching clients.

I hope you enjoy it and find it useful.

Both teaching and learning should be enjoyable so have a great time – giving your children all the support they need – and have fun with it.

Superb Blogging Community

I would like to acknowledge the superb support and training I get from the WA blogging community.  If you have a blog, or would like to have one, and would be interested in joining this community click here for further information. You can scroll down that page for further information. You can join for free, and never need to upgrade unless you want to. You don’t need a credit card to join – just an email address.

 

Keep in touch!

If you have any questions, please ask them in the comments area below.

All the best,

Julia

Founder of Tutor Your Child