Our creative writing workshop includes writing for pleasure as well as writing to ace exams and tests. In this course, students learn in a fun, interactive and creative way.
It is not just important because it is a part of the curriculum, and children can be tested on it, but it is important because research shows that children who are good at creative writing are better achievers all round.
The series of classes focuses on developing:
- Language features
- Story structure
- SPAG (Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar)
- Verbal and written abilities
‘I think it’s good because we do our own plans and write stories and we get to look at character planning and story planning and develop descriptions.’
Child, aged 8
There are many advantages to being good at creative writing. Pupils who have mastered it tend to do well at other subjects, such as geography, history, sociology, science and languages. They are also more persuasive than their peers, more organised and better problem solvers. It stands to reason that these are skills that will stand them in good stead their whole life.
Yet creative writing can be difficult for many students. One of the reasons for this is that many children just don’t read enough. Statistics shows that reading helps writing. However, to be fair to the pupils, the other reason they find creative writing difficult is simply because no one has ever taught them how to approach it properly!
At Elisa’s Tutorial School we know and value the importance of learning creative writing. Our writing workshops are one of our most popular extra-curricular courses, and children leave it forevermore confident when faced with what used to be the daunting terror of a blank page due to the good planning we teach through mind-mapping and story planning diagrams.
How the classes are organised
The resources we use at our creative writing sessions come from a wide range of sources. These include, but are not limited to:
- Traditional children’s books and stories
- Factual information such as reports and newspaper articles
- Sample exam papers
- Current news topics
- Story starters
- Elisa’s own children’s story books and SPAG books
- Non-fiction text types
‘I like the way Elisa gets everyone to look at a topic each lesson and to work as a team to accomplish a writing technique.’
Child, aged 9
The classes run once a week for 3 hours each. A basic course is at least 6 classes, but students can choose one of our occasional holiday workshops run to two days. Many students choose to continue with our formal teaching classes as creative writing is part of our teaching programme for English Language at 7+, 11+ and 13+. Some revisit the creative writing workshops regularly each holiday.
We work in small groups. Classes are organised around group work activities and individual, independent work. It allows children to learn from each other as well as work towards their own personal goals, as established early on in the course. Our classes cater for children as young as 6 years old to up to 16 years old.
A typical session in our children’s writing workshops:
A group of 10 or so students troop in on Saturday afternoon and split into two groups. They range in age from Alice, who is 8 years old, to the reluctant reader Jacob who is 11 and to Aggie who is the oldest at 16. (*All names and details changed).
They all sit down, in their two groups, younger and older, and take out their creative writing folders that are filled with notes, completed works and excerpts from popular children’s books.
Each of them are at different stages in their writing journeys.
Alice is learning English, as she is from Romania. However, she is a strong student, whose parents have instilled in her a love of reading from a young age. Alice is learning to read fun children’s books like The Famous Five by Enid Blyton. While her grammar and spelling need to improve, it is clear that the planning and organisation guidelines are helping to mould her strong imagination.
Jacob is dyslexic and has hardly ever read anything more challenging than a Tintin comic (in which he mostly looked at the pictures). He is now learning to enjoy exciting stories such as Harry Potter and the Narnia series. Jacob is learning new words with which to paint the perfect picture. Using the worksheets given to him to practise new vocabulary, Jacob is slowly gathering the tools to become an enthusiastic reader and confident writer.
Aggie would like to ace her GCSE English paper. She is learning about the various genres of writing, both fictional and non-fictional. Dissecting the styles of individual writers is a big part of her studies. Aggie will soon be able to write not only with her own strong and distinct voice, but also in the tone and style of others. This is true mastery over the craft of writing.
All of these unique individuals work together with the other students for a short while, and then work independently on their own personal writing projects.