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Teaching Kids How to Write Stories

Updated on April 30, 2013
Diane Lockridge profile image

Lockridge homeschools her children and holds an EdS in Curriculum and Instruction, an MS in Elementary Education, and a BA in History.

Before your student starts writing he needs to know the basics of story-telling


Ever hear a kid till a joke without a punch line?

Everyone knows that kids are creative, however they will not realize how to harness that creativity in writing a good story unless they recognize the important aspects of a story. Using the tips below, you can help your child or your student learn how to master story telling by using a visual aid-— their hand— to remember the five parts of a story.

Teaching children about writing assignments can be difficult, particularly when students struggle with forming cohearant sentences and spelling words to begin with. But once your child understand the basics of writing sentences, he'll need a bit of help remembering what goes into a well written story.

Once he's come up with the subject, character and storyline — which is unique to your child’s imagination— there are five basic things your child needs to know before your child starts writing.

Use Your Hands & Fingers to Remind You About The Important Parts

Help your student learn what he needs to do by looking at the parts of his hand (the thumb, pointer finger middle finger, fourth finger and pinkie finger) for a reminder of the essential elements of a story:

· Thumb: Hold your right hand sideways and you'll notice that your thumb looks like an indented paragraph. Remind students that each paragraph in their story should be indented. A good "rule of thumb" is that each paragraph should have three sentences.

· Pointer Finger: Other than pointing, people use their pointer finger to touch things. Remind students that when writing a story they should use their senses (such as the sense of touch) when describing things. For example:

What did the the room look like?

What did the apple pie smell like?

What did the cookie taste like?

How did the snow feel?

What did you hear at the beach?

When writers use their senses it adds important details to a story, and can make the reader feel like they are actually involved in the story itself. Good writers add details.

A good story keeps five things in mind, one for each digit on your hand.


· Middle: Look at your middle finger. Use this finger to help remind students that a good story has a beginning, middle and end. Characters in a story should learn or accomplish something, remember, something must happen. Think of the classic story "The Three Little Pigs"— there was a beginning, the pigs left home, a middle, the pigs each built their houses, and an end, the big bad wolf ran away.

· Fourth: Although most commonly referred to as the "ring" finger, use the other name— your fourth finger to help students understand they use sequence words in their stories. Using words such as “first”, "second" or “then”, for transitions help people understand what is happening when. Avoid using the word "then" as the first word in a sentence though.

· Pinkie: Although your smallest finger, isn't really colored differently than your other fingers, it's nickname "the pinkie" should help your students remember to use descriptive color words when writing. For example, instead of saying that the water was blue, describe it as blue like the sky. Don't just say that the girl's hair was blonde, describe it as "golden like honey".

While this "hand-y" reminder isn’t everything your child needs to know when writing a story, it serves as a quick and simple reminder for what he should look for when getting started.

Check out the links below for more articles I've written on language arts subjects:


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