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Day One

Listen to the story 'Tiddler' again with your child.


Talk about how Julia Donaldson turned different creatures into characters in her story. Discuss how some are real and some are mythical. This is the wonderful thing about stories, they can be whatever we want them to be! Using the sea creature they wrote facts about last week, ask your child to create a story character. Ask them to draw the character and tell you about it or write some sentences about it. Is it big or small? Is it friendly? Is it shy? How does it get about? Are there other characters in its family? Where does it live? etc. They will need to give it a name. In the story, Tiddler is named because of his size. They could name their character after its defining feature. 


Day Two

Explain to your child that they are going to be writing their own story for their character based on the plot of Tiddler. Talk about the characters in Tiddler. In their story, they will need a school teacher, friends for their character and perhaps some family members for their character. 

Make stick puppets for the characters and allow your child to play with them as they wish. Encourage them to make up reasons why their character is late for school. They could draw pictures of the setting to move their characters around in front of. 

Here is a video on making stick puppets. Pencils or pens work well instead of lollipop sticks. 


Day Three

Now ask your child to plan the events in their story. Ask them these key questions to help them identify the main events in their story. 

Where does the story begin?

Why doesn't the character go straight to school?

What problem does the character face? To help them understand this question, refer to Tiddler. In the story Tiddler, he gets caught in a fishing net and taken out to sea. They can use this idea for their character if they wish.

How is the problem solved? In Tiddler, his story gets him home again. This is a tricky concept for young children. Encourage your child to think of a way their character can solve their own problem or suggest they introduce a new character to help. For example, if their character is lost in a dark cave, a lanternfish could show them the way out.

What happens when they finally get to school?


Ask your child to draw and write their ideas on the planner below.

Day Four and Five

Allow your child to write their story. They are often inclined to begin with 'Once upon a time' and we try to encourage them to use a different story starter unless they are writing a traditional tale. We often suggest they could begin by describing the setting in some way. For example, 'Deep in the blue ocean lived an octopus'.

They should use their plan to help them to decide what to write next. You can challenge your child by asking them to add extra parts on to their sentences by using the word 'and'. They know they should not use more than one 'and' in a sentence. Look out for lower case letters at the beginning of names. We encourage them to read back through their writing and edit these by writing a capital letter above the original lower case letter.

See the 'Key Skills and Resources' section of the Year One pages for help with the writing process.