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Literacy: Ages 7 to 11

Using writing grids is a stimulating way of generating ideas for stories if characters and plots are hard to invent.

Prepare a stack of blank, large boxed 6x6 grids. Each grid will have a different theme such as names, occupations, places, hobbies or weather conditions. The 36 boxes on a grid need filling, an exercise best performed as a class or a group.

The selection of items to fill each box provokes useful debate. For example, the group might be required to provide 36 places for one grid.

More grids can be created and stored to be reused another time. So, when ideas are needed for a story several grids, ideally three, are selected.

For each grid a dice is thrown twice, giving the co-ordinates of a box.

That box gives the writer a randomly generated occupation, for example.

Three grids could give the writer a name, an occupation and a place with which to fashion a story

Paul Warnes is a supply teacher in Kent

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