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The Magic of Story Starters: Getting Your Kids to Write!

Updated on March 2, 2013
GarnetBird profile image

Gloria taught for many years, and also worked as a mental health group facilitator.

By Gloria Siess, {"Garnetbird"}

a typical "Story Starter" illustrated with an alluring photo from a magazine. The sentence is mine--the young author will complete the story in his or her own handwriting.
a typical "Story Starter" illustrated with an alluring photo from a magazine. The sentence is mine--the young author will complete the story in his or her own handwriting.

Getting Started Can Be FUN!

We are all familiar with the groan, "What Will I Write About?" or the blank face that seems devoid of ideas. Children have creative and cute stories inside them. Often the way to get that pen or pencil moving is to provide them with a "Story Starter."

A Story Starter is an opening sentence that the child will have to finish. The wilder and sillier your creative pitch, the more likely he or she will laugh and start getting some fun ideas of their own. You can write the first sentence on paper and present it to your young writer, encouraging them to draw a picture to illustrate their story with. I have seen this work in mainstream classrooms as well as RSP programs.{ I usually put the sentence on the board, but homeschoolers and parents can make the process cosier and less daunting a task.}

Some examples of Story Starters are as follows:

1. Once Upon A Time, there was a lonely princess whose bestfriend was a bear..

2. I woke up on another planet and saw a creepy alien floating to my space capsule..

3. The Night I threw the pizza on the roof, Mom got really mad..

4. I dreamed I was caught in a spider's web, and when I awoke I saw..(I got some really wild stuff with this one).

5. I tried to help my little sister, but I accidentally turned her hair blue with the food coloring..

6. Mom told me to clean up my room, but a monster stopped me and said..

7. The roller coaster flew off the track and we went flying through the air into space..

8. A new dog moved into our neighborhood and started digging down to China.

9. I went to school and everything was upsidedown!

10. The new student looked liked an alien from Space. Oneday (he or she) said...

Often getting a child to laugh, relax and enjoy writing is the key to co-operation. You can illustrate story starters with pictures taken from magazines and pasted on top of the paper, with the sentence below. If you have a creative bent and like to draw, you can color one yourself. Corrections should be done after the child is finished, as to not interrupt the flow.Read your child's little story outloud and make writing time something they look forward to!


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    • GarnetBird profile image

      Gloria Siess 5 years ago from Wrightwood, California

      I am so flattered. Someone in my family worked in Iceland for 18 months and took wonderful photos there of the icelandic ponies and glaciers..said the people were very friendly. Thank you for your comment!

    • profile image

      SigurrĂ³s 5 years ago

      I was looking for story starters to translate into Icelandic for my students and I can really use some of these! Thank you very much! :D

    • GarnetBird profile image

      Gloria Siess 6 years ago from Wrightwood, California

      That's what one of my teachers did also--it really works, and makes writing a creative process--Nice to hear from you!

    • lambservant profile image

      Lori Colbo 6 years ago from Pacific Northwest

      Oh I love it. I had a teacher that introduced me to writing that way. He would cut out a photo of a magazine, and tell us to write a story about it. He would give an opening sentence like for the kids who needed a little nudge. That was the year I fell in love with writing. Thanks GB. Good to see you again.

    • GarnetBird profile image

      Gloria Siess 7 years ago from Wrightwood, California

      Your comment made my day! I want to write more on these classroom "magic tricks." THANK YOU.

    • angela_michelle profile image

      Angela Michelle Schultz 7 years ago from United States

      This is such a great idea. Since I am a lover of words, and my daughter is just finding, she's loving reading,I think this will be a really awesome game for us to play! She is so creative, and I'm trying to get her away from the tv and video games.

    • GarnetBird profile image

      Gloria Siess 7 years ago from Wrightwood, California

      Your post made my day-thank you! I am suffering from a cracked rib and I get little or no classroom contact anymore. I plan to write specific Hubs for homeschoolers and parents, etc. to try and keep actively involved. I noticed you have published--congratulations! My book, lake of Shame is in print now. I do NOT recommend PublishAmerica, despite the fact they did a pretty good job with my book--too many writers have had problems with them.Again, thanks. Your Kitty On a Hill sounds charming.

    • Bonijun37 profile image

      Bonnie J. Smith 7 years ago from Lakewood,WA

      HI! Garnet. I am an author/writer and I enjoyed this very much. I know a young lady of 13 in my church and she is a great writer. She writes poems and stories, she has a great future. I will tell her about you and