Teacher Tips #1: Preparing students to write a story

Sarah Lahiff

We are currently running a global story competition for children aged 12 and younger. The aim is to give children the opportunity to share their great imaginations through creative writing. Top twelve stories will be selected as the winners and will be printed in a beautifully bound book. Why not join in?

Preparing to write a story.

Try the creative writing lesson plan with your own classes. Here are some top tips you could use to inspire your students and prepare them for writing stories.

Children don’t lack imagination but they may need some help to organise their ideas and put them in to words. In order to help them curate a story, we have to detail the initial framework required. This lesson plan analyses the story structure and language needed for story writing.

Materials required – select one of the story samples to analyse:

  1. 1. Pre A1: “What am I?” (Storyfun 1, Cambridge University Press 2017)
  2. 2. A1: “The monster under my bed” (Storyfun 3, Cambridge University Press 2017)
  3. 3. A2: “Swan Island” (Storyfun 6, Cambridge University Press 2017)


Introducing the topic

Familiarise the class with the topic. A good way to do this is to ask children questions that prompt them to start thinking about stories. Here are some ideas for good questions:

  1. 1. Do you like stories?
  2. 2. What is your favourite story?
  3. 3. What do you like about your favourite story?


*The above can be tailored for higher level classes by asking the class in advance to bring their favourite book to class as part of a show-and-tell.

Presenting the story

Using your chosen story sample from above, present to the class the title and some images from the story. If you are using an actual book as an example. start the presentation with the title as well as the cover. Encourage the class to be imaginative- ask the children to predict what the story is going to be about. Read, or watch the sample story video, with the class. Discuss what they think the key ingredients are for a story. Prompt the answers by asking:

  1.  1. Who are the characters?
  2.  2. Where are they?
  3.  3. When is it taking place?
  4.  4. What happens in the story?
  5.  5. How do you think the characters feel?


You could use a graphic organizer technique such as this 5 point star: draw a 5 point star on the board and ask students to help you fill in each star point according to above categories.

*For higher level, you could hand out blank graphic organisers for students to complete themselves.

For more detailed examples of how to conduct this in class, the complete lesson plan is available to download here. Continue the lesson with- Teacher Tips #2: Writing a story.

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