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Telling stories: why children like to write (and why it comes naturally to them)

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For children of all ages (and some would argue adults too), writing is a form of imaginative play. It gives them the opportunity to create their own world in which they can be and do whatever they like, wherever they like. They learn that like magicians, they can conjure something out of thin air, from thought to existence. There’s a thrill in knowing that the only limits are the limits of their imagination.

Each and every time they set out to write, children embark on a new adventure. They see writing as an experience, as something exciting that transports them out of everyday reality. When their imagination takes flight, limitless possibilities open up. For this reason, they can get totally lost in their stories, and in the scenarios and characters they create.

Of course, writing can also be a powerful way for children to examine real-life experiences in their own way and at their own pace. Writing about ‘real stuff,’ whether good or bad, can help them gain a better understanding of it, and of the emotions involved.

Simply put, writing gives children the freedom to explore who they are, in a space that they can control and feel comfortable in. It can lead to self-discovery and to them finding their ‘voice.’

In the driver’s seat

Very often you see children giggling as they write. It doesn’t feel like work to them, rather it’s a fun thing to do. Imagine how entertaining it is for a child when he realises he can write about… absolutely anything. He could, for instance, include his teacher in his story, and take pleasure in making her do quirky things or placing her in strange scenarios.

Essentially then, writing puts children in control, and they enjoy the sense of empowerment this gives them. They come to understand that they are in the driving seat – they get to choose who appears in their stories, they decide what happens to them and they determine the outcome. This is one of the reasons children become so engaged in their stories and feel such a sense of ownership about them and the characters they create.

Children feel there’s intrinsic and personal worth in putting their thoughts and ideas down on paper, that in doing so those ideas become something of substance. And like anything children do, the more they do it, the better – and more confident – they become. Writing makes them feel good about themselves. They take pride not just in their creation but in their own creativity.

Perhaps most importantly, children love how writing allows them to connect and share themselves with others, especially their peers. They soon discover that half the fun of writing stories is telling them.

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