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‘It gives children both the freedom and encouragement to develop their ideas by thinking beyond the obvious and immediate,’ Julia explains.‘Giving them something specific and concrete can help them to develop their ideas in ways that they would usually struggle with.’Prompts can help children to come up with a far more diverse set of ideas than they might usually.
‘One of my favourite picture prompts is a photo of a smashed chocolate egg, surrounded by tiny model workmen,’ Julia says.
You can either leave the picture blank, or add a caption to encourage children along the right lines: for example, a speech bubble on a person saying, ‘Where am I going?
That’s where creative writing prompts – any tool that is used to kickstart the writing process, such as a picture, an opening sentence or a piece of music – can come in useful.‘Creative writing prompts can be anything that gets children thinking outside the box,’ explains Julia Skinner, founder of the 100 Word Challenge writing programme and The Head’s Office blog.
‘Some children find it hard to get going with creative writing, and really benefit from having a more thought-provoking starting point.’Often, children are given a creative writing task based on a set title, such as: ‘Write a story about a dragon’.
‘Creative writing shouldn’t be something where you leave your child to their own devices,’ Julia explains.
‘It really needs some input to draw out your child’s ideas.
‘This might not be a problem for a child who has lots of imagination, but it can be a challenge for those who find it difficult to come up with ideas and don’t consider themselves to be very creative,’ says Julia.
A creative writing prompt such as a picture or opening sentence can help to fire this creative process.
Music Using music as a prompt can help your child to think about how they use their senses in their writing.
Typically, instrumental pieces work best, otherwise the lyrics put words in your child’s mouth, but you can use any genre, from classical to rap.