Stories with many layers

Last term I visited Louisa's Year 2 class in North Wales to see pupils "storymaking". It was milk time; everyone was sucking on straws or munching apples. Louisa hung up a large story map and they began to tell The Magic Porridge Pot, complete with actions.

The school has been learning stories and using them as a simple, pleasurable strategy for developing children's writing. Louisa also plays a "connectives" game. She puts the connectives from the stories on to card.

Then she begins a simple story: "One morning Sasha went into the forest to fetch some firewood". Next, she pauses and holds up a card. A volunteer has to continue, using the connective, for example: "After a while she came to a castle".

Some children may need prompting: "Meanwhile her gran...". Louisa suggests beginning with simpler connectives and gradually adding harder ones. It is also important to model new ones before the children are expected to use them.

Good connectives include: once upon a time, one day, first, then, next, after that, after a while, a moment later, the next day, meanwhile, soon, at that moment, suddenly, unfortunately, unluckily, luckily, so, although, however, as soon as, now, finally and eventually Pie Corbett is a literacy consultant

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