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My daughter is 6 years old and she loves to tell stories. However, she finds writing to be tedious. She does practice writing each letter and she can write words.

What I am most interested in, is there any consensus about what is the most appropriate age for a child to start writing creative stories?

Perhaps it is not about age but I should look for other milestones. I am curious what those might be.

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    I don't know the answer to this, but perhaps if she's too young to write out stories, you can encourage her to draw them out, comic-book style? That might seem less intimidating. – neilfein Sep 23 '14 at 17:28
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    It might still be a little early for her, but perhaps rather than long stories, you could encourage her to write short stories with just a few words, or even small poems? Or use her love of story telling to encourage her to develop her writing skills so that it's less tedius? – Zibbobz Sep 23 '14 at 19:02
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    Have you considered getting her a small digital audio recorder like you'd use (well, in the pre-smartphone era) for taking notes in class? They're cheap (like $25-30) and make a nice way to record stories in a way you can review and save (MP3 files you can copy over USB cable) without the work of writing. – R.. Oct 14 '14 at 4:38
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When writing becomes automatic enough that they want to write their stories down.

At your daughter's age, I was the same way - told lots of stories but refused to write them down. The reason was simply because writing still took a lot of effort, so much that I couldn't get the creative juices flowing while trying to write things down. At six, your daughter has probably just barely started to read and write. It still takes her full attention to do it.

By grade 3, schools shift from expecting kids to 'learn to read' to expecting them to 'read to learn', because at this point, most kids are good enough at automatic reading that they can absorb a new concept by reading about it. Even then, writing still takes more effort, because an 8 year old's fine motor coordination isn't that good yet.

In my case, I started writing my stories down around 11 or 12. Before then, writing was just too much effort. Now, as an adult, I've written (but unfortunately haven't managed to get published) several books, and I often write for fun.

If you want your kid's stories to get written down before that age, maybe try dictation. She tells you the story and you write it. You can read it back to her, or ask her to read it (but don't push - you don't want a creative activity to be linked in her mind with effort and pressure).

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Start by having her tell you the stories and have you write them down. Leave space on each page for him/her to illustrate the book. Make it a multi day project. when there is any resistance, suggest you can continue another day. When you reach a point where there is enough pages to read bring it back to the child at bed time and suggest it as a bed time story to read. My daughters elementary school used to publish books by pasting completed pages into a notebook to try to give the finished product a sense of accomplishment.

I did not do any of this, by my daughter spends every day writing for about an hour (she is now 13). We did not directly encourage this but I have looked back and realized that I used to write my daughter stories when she was 5 and read them to her. I also made stories up at bed time, when I wanted to send her to bed with a story without the light on. I feel that she started writing (in part) because she saw me doing it. (It was also apart of the school curriculum.)

The school emphasized event order in stories at the age of 6 through 8 or so. That it was important to remember, or practice remembering the order of events in stories as a part of learning and development at that age. So, when the child is receptive, try confusing things a bit on purpose in regards to the time line of their stories to get them to be clear on event order.

** edit *

After having just spent an evening with my own daughter who is 5, I must say... relax and be careful not to push too hard. I recommend my second idea of leading by example above and beyond my first idea.

  • Upvoted for the edit :) – Brian Robbins Oct 15 '14 at 15:26
  • This is what teachers do. Sometimes we print the story/ a few words or lines in a tracing font (dots that the child later traces) tracing fonts and leave room for a picture that the child draws. There's even special paper for this. Then you can make a book. Our school library was filled with books written by our students (as well as all the regular stuff). – WRX Apr 28 '17 at 12:37
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    @Willow Yes, just last week my child came home a very proud published author. She was as excited about reading her classmates work as her own and was really happy with it. (now in second grade) – amalgamate May 1 '17 at 14:10
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Writing is tedious! I hate it too.

I would suggest either having her write her stories in picture format (they're worth a thousand words, right?) or even comic book style. Maybe show her a few different story mediums to give her some inspiration.

I'm also a big fan of getting kids typing. Being familiar with a keyboard can't hurt, and writing words is just HARD. She'll have to do enough of that in school, and trying to get her write at home could make her feel like she's more learning and less being creative.

Looking down at a keyboard, seeing the letter you want, hitting it, and getting your letter perfectly on screen? That's awesome. She'll see her words being formed, can correct mistakes easily with backspace, and will be spending less time trying to write, and more time actually getting her stories down!

Digital stories are also great because they don't take up massive amounts of paper that can be destroyed or strewn about the house. They can stay there forever and barely take up any space at all!

  • +1 for "get kids typing". Use a proper keyboard, and a spelling checker that marks errors but doesn't correct them. Whether six years is appropriate I couldn't say. – gnasher729 May 1 '17 at 0:10
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Our child used to dislike writing greatly. Things started to change when we took the advice of getting him to do little jobs for us like writing shopping lists or making lists of things he wanted to take on trips that he didn't want to forget. Then came labelling pictures which he wanted to start doing more and more -- writing names on people etc -- and it seemed to be at that point that he got that he could express himself through writing.

After that we did things like make him little pamphlets that he could write his own little stories with pictures in, and now he's writing the odd story fairly regularly. He loves reading and always has done, which may have helped significantly with the creative side of things. He is 6 too. That may not help with your child as every child is different.

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