Tell Me a Story!
Everyone can be a storyteller! In this workshop, I start by asking children to close their eyes and imagine a time long ago, before TVs and mobile phones and electric lights, when people would gather around a fire to listen to tales of magic and adventure. We talk about how people didn't write down stories (many people couldn't read or write). Instead, people remembered them and favourite tales were told and enjoyed over and over again.
We then talk about fairytales children know – beginnings, popular characters and story patterns. I tell them a little about my book, Scared Little Red Riding Hood, which I wrote for Quarto Children's Books – how I had to use bits of the traditional story, not include magic, and give it a theme – here, bravery.
I'll then tell the children a traditional version of Little Red Riding Hood, explaining how I may change the words a little each time – or even the ending.
After a mini break (stretching/releasing energy), we remember the three main parts of the story together, in groups, with prompts, thinking about a visual map of the story in our minds, repeated phrases and 'the rule of three'.
Children then work in pairs, taking turns to be storyteller and 'director' (helper or prompt).
Towards the end of the session, children can volunteer to put on a storyteller's hat or cloak, and tell their favourite part of the story to the rest of the class.
NOTE: Children do not do a sustained piece of writing in this workshop but it's ideal prep for teachers getting a great piece of writing out of their class later that day or week!
Best for: Years 2 and 3
Session length: 45 mins - 1 hour*
* longer session can include drawing a favourite character and writing down a memorable sentence from the story
We talk about some of the fairytales and types of fairytale characters the children know and and why fairytale characters are often two-dimensional. We then discuss books the children have enjoyed recently, with a focus on what makes a memorable character (character quirks, flaws, wants and needs).
Children work in groups to explore tactile storybags filled with imaginative props to help them identify, then flesh out a traditional fairytale character. Worksheets provided. Volunteers can share their character with the rest of the class.
Best for: Years 4-6
Session length: 45 mins - 1 hour*
* In longer sessions, we work together to come up with a three-act story arc based around one of the characters
'... the children thoroughly enjoyed themselves and you certainly helped to inspire them too.'
– Greenoaks Primary, March 2020
I usually hold four workshops over a full school day (plus story sessions in Reception and Year One), working with groups or classes of up to 30 children. I can adjust workshops lengths to fit around your timetable and work with single classes or with children of mixed ages (useful if you're tapping into a pupil premium budget).
I hold enhanced DBS certification and have public liability insurance. Please note, teachers and any TAs working with particular pupils need to be present throughout to ensure sessions run smoothly (and ensure my insurance is valid!)
Reasonable rates, based on Society of Author guidelines! Please get in touch for full T&Cs or to enquire about other workshops including:
What Do Book Editors Do?
Everyone needs an editor!
How writers edit their own work
What book editors do!
Tips and tricks for editing your own writing
Session length: 30 minutes
Let's Make an Information Book
Different ways of presenting information (I
can adapt/bring in different books to fit in with your current classroom topic)
Getting your facts right – where to look for information and how to be sure it's correct
Having a go – working up a 'spread' from an information book
(using brought-in resources)
Session length: 45 minutes – 1 hour
Writing instructional text using examples from my activity books
Thinking it through – who it's for, what you need, getting the steps and order right
Getting it wrong (with silly examples)
Having a go – making something (from a prepared kit) following my verbal instructions,
then writing your own 'Here's How...'
Session length: 45 mins