We know story continuation is a popular choice for independent school 11plus exams, so let’s give your child as much help as we can. In the last post, you looked at a video guiding you through 9 vital, mini ‘must-haves’ of story continuation. I include the video again here, but now also wish to point you to a fantastic way to practise this with something you already have in your house.
Of course, you’ll be using sample exam papers from a range of resources, with story extracts and instructions to continue the story in a range of ways. Doubtless, these are excellent support. BUT…there’s another fantastic tool; the secret sauce – or secret source – you already have in your house.
- Take a book you or your child already have on your bookshelf. Depending on the stage or age of your child, vary between simpler and more complex writing.
- Open the book and choose a page or two for you both to read. Chapter endings with mini-cliffhangers work well, as do chapter starters, but really, any 2 pages with a scene that can be developed will work.
- Point to the sentence you’d like your child to continue from: the moment a door is knocked; when a character is found out doing something they shouldn’t; the beginning of a difficult conversation; the moment a question is asked, and so on.
- Decide a focus for the piece. For example: ‘Continue Nirvana’s journey up the mountain as night falls’; ‘Write what happens when Arthur opens the magic cloud. Try to continue in the same style as the author.’
- Decide how long you want the writing to be and the time given to write it.
- Ask your child (you could model this with them the first couple of times) to read the text and search out the 9 elements shown in the Whizz-Bang story continuation rockets video.
- Repeat with a range of books. If you choose a mix of classic old children’s books alongside modern texts, the added advantage is your child will be trying to write in the same style as some of the most successful and brilliant authors. This will help them understand writers’ techniques, and should also improve their own writing style as they try out different sentence structures, word choices, paragraph techniques, etc.
Books are teachers (metaphor!).