Relating to the right age g roup

Before you attempt to write stories for children, decide which age group you relate to best. Children are as varied in their tastes and interests as adults but whilst there is no limit on the themes you can explore, vocabulary and style is a very different matter. As Margaret Nash, author of many children's books, including the popular 'Class 1' series, explains:

Plots have to move much faster for children than adults and each chapter should include some particular interest as well as some form and progression.

Read with a writer's eye books written for the age group of your choice and in order to establish the vocabulary and concepts you should be using, study National Curriculum reading schemes.

If you can, offer your services to the local school as a volunteer helper and read stories to the children. During these story sessions, assess their reactions by noting the following points:

♦ How soon do they begin to fidget?

♦ Which stories hold their attention and which do they find boring?

♦ What type of story do they enjoy the most?

♦ Which stories stimulate reactions and why?

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