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Story Starters for Kids

May 9th, 2017 | 2 min. read

By Anna Wilmoth

Story Starter Resources for the Classroom

Creative writing prompts are a great way to encourage early literacy activities in preschoolers. Through the use of props or story starters, teachers can nurture early literacy skills through the art of story telling. This then easily blooms into early writing skills as students learn to express stories in written form. Story starters are just one of the stages of writing development in children. For more resources to encourage early literacy, browse our hundreds of strategies, tips, and activities.

Dr. Mary Renck Jalongo uses story starters as one of the many tools in her book Literacy for All Young Learners. Click here to download PDFs from the book!


Word Walls

  1. Young children are learning names of all kinds of things, so create word walls of nouns. Next, develop a word wall of action words.
  2. After you have developed these two word walls, try combining the words into simple sentences, such as "Once there was a ___, and he wanted to ___." Some of these sentences will be humorous. You can get more ideas for noun-verb combinations that begin with the same letter of the alphabet at http://www.toytheater.com/action-alphabet.php 
  3. As children gain experience with word walls, they can use them to produce their own original books. For example, a word wall with days of the week in multiple languages could be used with the children's book Cookie's Week by Cindy Ward. In this story, a kitten gets into all kinds of mischief, Monday through Saturday, and finally takes a rest on Sunday. Children can invent their own day-by-day account of a pet--real or hoped for--and what it might do.

A My Name is Alice

  1. Read the book A My Name is Alice by Jane Bayer to the children. In this book, the children have names that begin with every letter of the alphabet. Children can try making a similar book, using both the real names of their classmates and ones that they invent for any letter of the alphabet that has not been used.

Music Names

  1. Use music to extend the children's familiarity with classmates' names. For example, listen to Mary Wore Her Red Dress; then, sing it and substitute different children's names and articles of clothing into the song. Create a chart of each child's name and article of clothing.

A Short Trip

  1. Take the children on a short trip, perhaps to visit the library or schoolyard.
  2. Afterward, let them work in small groups to create original books using the format, "I went walking. What did you see? I saw a (color) (living thing) looking at me." So, after a tour of the schoolyard, they might write: "I went walking. What did you see? I saw a red swing looking at me."
  3. Let the children decorate their books and share them with their friends and families.

Author(s)Mary Renck Jalongo

Anna Wilmoth

Marketer. Publisher. Reporter. Educator. Mother. Runner. Explorer. Anna served as director of marketing for Gryphon House from Oct 2014 - May 2017.