Episode 4 Guidance

Here’s the guidance and resource materials for teachers, librarians, parents and others who work with children for Episode Four of The Story Thief Challenges.

Story Re-cap questions for children:

  1. What does the Story Thief want from Liam and Aoife for the first challenge?
  2. What do you think will happen to them if they fail the challenge?
  3. What makes it difficult for Liam and Aoife to write their story in time?
  4. Did the Story Thief steal any of their father’s memories that day or not?
  5. Did Liam and Aoife get their story opening completed in time? Do you think there was a monkey in it?

Writing advice Re-cap questions:

  1. What does Caroline Busher always do in the months before she starts writing her books?
  2. Why is it best to start a story as close to the action as possible?
  3. What are the benefits of starting a book with dialogue?
  4. Why is it important to just start writing?
  5. Name the start of a book that you really like? Why?

Story Challenge:

PS: I have a Story Challenge to help you write a great start to your story.

First get one or two of your favorite books. If you don’t have a favorite book then pick some kids books from a library.

Next read the first page or two of each book. Think about it. Do you like how the book starts? Does it make you want to read more or does it make you want to stop reading? Why?

Now use everything you’ve learnt and all my tips above and write the first 100 words of a story so exciting, mysterious and wonderful that it’ll hook the reader and leave them begging you to finish the story!

How to do this challenge?

This challenge is fairly self explanatory, but it could be done in a variety of ways. Obviously it could be done by a child on his own or with his parent or carer at home, but I’m going to focus here on how it could be used in a group setting such as in a library or school.

As usual, as with all of life, how you use this depends on how much time you have.

To simplify the challenge, you could pick and read out the first pages to a few books yourself rather than have kids bring in books. Next ask the kids questions about the different opening e.g. did you like how that started? Do you want to hear more? Why? What do you think the story is going to be about?

When it comes to writing the 100 words of their stories, there are two main options for the kids. They could just focus on an exciting opening and not really worry or know about the rest of the story. Or they come up with or already have an idea in mind for their story and thus have to imagine how to start it. Either are fine.

If you’re encouraging kids to come up with the story idea first then give them quiet time to think of one as Nigel Quinlan suggested . If they lack inspiration then encourage them to let their own experiences inform their stories as ER Murray suggested

If your time is very limited then why not just focus on a strong first line rather than the opening 100 words? Read out some famous first lines to the kids and see if the kids can guess who wrote them then discuss them. Get the kids to think up exciting first lines for their story. Plus if you do it this way then get them to write their sentences in big writing so you can stick them up on a big poster together.

Once everyone’s done their story opening, the kids could read them out to the group if they wish. The group could try to guess what will happen next in the story.

Once the challenge is completed?

As ever we’d love to see what the kids came up with and show it to all our readers if appropriate.  So get in touch to arrange this.