8th December 2006 at 00:00
Ages 7 to 11

As children develop their story writing skills, one of the additional elements we seek in their writing is the inner voice of characters - insights into a character's thoughts and feelings.

Gather a load of newspapers and glossy magazines, then ask children to hunt through them, finding as many diverse facial expressions as they can. Once they have done this, ask them to make cloud-shaped thought bubbles, of the sort you would find in a comic story.

Their task is to write what their chosen faces are thinking or feeling, but stress that they should try to be imaginative and find a few sentences that unpick the feeling. So, "I feel happy" needs developing. It could become "I feel happy because I won the lottery".

We could even add, "That means I can make my dream come true and sail round the world". These thoughts and feelings, transferred from this task to story writing, can enrich children's narratives.

Book: Scary Stories: Writing Guide by Huw Thomas (Scholastic) explores feelings at the cutting edge.

Website: is a great collection of contemporary faces.

Comics can provide a great resource. Faces and thought bubbles work together to give the character's inner voice

Huw Thomas is headteacher at Emmaus Primary, Sheffield

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