Roald Dahl’s birthday is on 13 September every year and if he isn’t one of your children’s favourite authors yet, then he will be in due course. I don’t think I know a single child that doesn’t know Matilda, Charlie or even George on a first name basis. Roald Dahl has definitely been a family favourite from my childhood and through my children’s childhood… in fact we have fond memories of driving all the way across South Africa to Lesotho, and listening to Roald Dahl all the way there and all the way back again.
Creative Writing Should Be Fun
I have blogged my approach to writing before… it is one of our favourite topics in our homeschool. My kids look forward to free writing each week and their annual NANOWRIMO writing challenge. I for one am not afraid to sweeten the burden with a teatime treat or some stunning stationary, whatever it takes. Get your kids writing and having fun while they write… and you can worry about all the nitty gritty professional details like formal letters and book reports, and academic essays much later on. The thing is, if they find it fun, then they will keep on coming back for more… and the more practice they get, the better they get at writing the more the want to write. It is a win, win situation.
I am a firm believer in making sure that writing is fun for my kids… you are never too old to have fun and writing should not be seen as a laborious chore but something that your children should look forward to. When it comes to creative writing I am all for ignoring spelling (take deep breathes) and grammar corrections (more deep breathes) and let them just put pen to paper, or marker to giftwrap, or stick to beach sand… let them just communicate. It doesn’t have to be a magnificent tome, they can just be relabelling the pantry with hilarious post it notes, annotating a map with a journey the would like to go on, filling in a cartoon outline with a conversation they wish they had overheard… and if you can’t find ideas, then ask your kids… they will have ideas of things that they want to write about.
If you find yourself on the sinking ship of “my children will never write a sentence, let alone have fun while they are doing it,” then head straight over to Julie Brave Writer’s website… she has loads of free inspiration and her podcast is the ultimate in enthusiastic encouragement to despairing homeschool parents all over the world. If you do nothing else, then read her blog and get a fun creative writing idea onto your school table with no preparation or extra effort on your part at all… go on, be inspired.
Creative Writing with Roald Dahl
I am all for resources that encourage my kids to write and I am not all for “busy work” and endless assignments that bore them to death… My guys have been having a lot of fun with the Roald Dahl Creative Writing Series:
These books claim to be perfect for writers age 7 to 70… and they do have a point. They are rich and lively books, packed with glorious Quentin Blake illustrations and loads and loads of ideas. Short sharp colourful blocks filled with ideas, tips, and most important: blank spaces for your young writer to put their own ideas down. The great thing is that these books are not overwhelming for your emerging writer, because, while there are places and spaces to write in, you can also draw your ideas or even stick pictures of your ideas into these books. They are not flimsy at all, the paper is strong and will withstand your enthusiastic young author, who insists of writing with marker or who has a penchant for highlighters, this paper will even withstand watercolour paints. And the final page of each book contains a list of the top tips from the book, a little summary to cut out and keep in their writing journal.
HOW TO WRITE Tremendous Characters
When you think of Roald Dahl books the one thing that you carry with you long after you have read them are his characters. The characters tell the story, the characters keep you engaged in the story and because his characters are so much bigger than real life characters they linger on in your heart, long after you have read the story. This workbook is all about creating great characters for your won stories… heroes and villains, details in their outfits, their backstories, how do they look, what do they say… it is all about creating characters that are somewhat larger than life.
HOW TO WRITE Splendid Settings
This book is packed with loads of ideas on how to set a scene: using your senses, using emotions, using weird and wonderful words. How to create tiny and very specific details, how to create interesting names for the places in your stories and how to encourage your readers to believe that these weird and wonderful places “really” do exist.
HOW TO WRITE Spellbinding Speech
Often the hardest part about creating a great story is the dialogue… its hard to teach and it is hard to learn… but not with this handy dandy book, packed with great ideas for conversation starters and conversational connections. Loads of ideas to help your students create interactions that are more than “he said/she said… and then she said/he said.” And there is an interesting little trick… what about creating a silence in your story… interesting times indeed.
HOW TO WRITE a Marvellous Plot
Creating a good story plot is a skill of note, creating a story that sparks interest for your readers… how to use a story machine and interesting connections, a magical middle and excellent endings. Not to mention how to plan out your story and how to write your story from a different perspective… and wait for it: Story Maps… all good books have a map in them, and this technique helps you to create a story around a map for you.
HOW TO WRITE Phenomenal Poetry
My kids love writing poetry, because we love reading poetry. Poetry feels like it is easy to write, but it never really is. As you would expect, this is not your average “how to write poetry text book” it isn’t just: write a haiku, write a limerick… the end. It tackles difficult things in a kid friendly way: how to find your rhythm, how to create rhyme, even how to create new word when you need them. How to write your own couplet and even how to write a Kennings, and if you don’t know what that is, well they are perfectly explained.
HOW TO WRITE Remarkable Reasons to Write
This is ideal for the young writer who would love to write but isn’t sure quite what to write and for the homeschool mom, who is worried that her child might never know the difference between a formal and informal letter. This book has stacks of ideas on how to write a newspaper article, an interview and even a play script.
Loads of Links To Roald Dahl Magic
- Games and the Giant Peach Shadow Puppets…
- I feel any exploration of Roald Dahl books deserves a Fizwhikkling Brilliant Brew of Sorts.
- A Pile of Roald Dahl Party Ideas…
- Bruce Bogrotter Cake… read chocolate cake of the most fantastic kind.
- If you are looking for Plenty of Printables and Activities and Loads of Good Roald Dahl fun… head straight over to the Official Roald Dahl Website. It is a winner.
- Roald Dahl Bookmarks to Printout and Keep… and Thirteen Inspired Quotes. from Penguin UK.
- Since you can’t visit the Roald Dahl Museum right now, you can definitely take a virtual wander through the countryside… from wherever you are in the world. And while you are there, you really should take a tour of his writing hut.
Amazon Affiliate Links to Books Mentioned in this Post
All these books were given to us for review purposes by Penguin Random House South Africa. This is not a sponsored post and opinions expressed are entirely our own.