What is creative writing?
Narrative or creative writing will be developed throughout a child's time at primary school. This table gives a rough idea of how story structure, sentence structure, description and punctuation are developed through story-writing lessons at school. (Please note: expectations will vary from school to school. This table is intended as an approximate guide.)
Download a FREE Creative Writing toolkit!
- KS1 & KS2 workbooks
- Bursting with fill-in prompt sheets and inspiring ideas
- Story structure tips, style guides and editing suggestions
Creative writing in primary school
Events in a story in an order that makes sense.
Joining two clauses in a sentence with the word 'and.'
Simple adjectives to describe people and places.
Use of capitals, full stops, exclamation marks and question marks.
Year 2 Story structure
Stories sequenced with time-related words such as: then, later, afterwards, next.
Using a broader range of adjectives.
Year 3 Story structure
Stories structured with a clear beginning, middle and end. Starting to write in paragraphs.
Continuing to use sentences with two parts, linked with connectives such as 'because', 'but' and 'so'.
Broad range of adjectives plus some powerful verbs.
Using all of the punctuation above. Starting to use some speech punctuation.
Gaining confidence with structuring a story and with organising paragraphs.
Using sentences connected with more sophisticated connectives such as because,' 'however,' 'meanwhile' and 'although.'
Using a range of adjectives, powerful verbs and adverbs. Some use of similes. Using fronted adverbials (placing the adverb at the start of the sentence, e.g. 'Quickly, the children stood up').
Increasingly accurate use of speech punctuation. Using commas after fronted adverbials.
Using a range of connectives to connect parts of sentences.
Continuing to structure stories confidently. Using adverbials such as: in contrast, on the other hand, as a consequence.
Continuing to use a range of descriptive language (see above) confidently.
How creative writing is taught in primary schools
When teachers teach creative writing, they usually follow the units suggested by the literacy framework, including the following:
- stories with familiar settings
- stories from other cultures
- fairy tales (also known as traditional tales)
- fantasy stories
- myths and legends
- adventure and mystery
- stories with historical settings.
Teachers will start with a text that they are confident will engage the interest of the class. It is often a good idea to find a well-illustrated text to bring the story alive further. They will spend a week or two 'loitering on the text', which will involve tasks where characters and scenarios from the text are explored in-depth. These tasks may include:
- Drawing a story map or mountain to get an idea of the structure of the story
- Writing a letter from one character to another
- In pairs, improvising a conversation between two characters in the story
- Making notes on a spider diagram about a particular character
- Writing the thoughts of a character at a particular point in the story
- Writing a diary entry as one character in the story
Once teachers feel that the text has been thoroughly explored, they will guide the children in writing their own version of the story. This involves planning the story, brainstorming characters and setting and then writing a draft of the story. Children will then be encouraged to edit and re-write their draft. Teachers may mark the draft and write their own suggestions on it, or they may ask children to swap their writing with their partner and encourage them to make suggestions on each other's work. Throughout this process, teachers are aiming to encourage children to develop skills in the above four sections of the table: story structure, sentence structure, description and punctuation.
Finally, children will write up a 'neat' finished version of their writing. Teachers often give children a format for doing this, such as bordered paper on which they can add illustrations, or a booklet for which they can design a front cover.