Is there anything more intimidating than a blank page and the request to write a story? Okay, lots of things. But have you ever actually tried it? Cue a blank mind and a stationary pencil. But story writing can be incredibly enjoyable, and it’s a great opportunity to let your pupils be creative and imaginative.

We’ve put together some good story starters for KS2 to help your pupils with writer’s block. We’ve also got KS1 story starters covered too, if you have some younger pupils.

Read past the story starters and you’ll also find a guide to free writing that you can use alongside the story starters. Jump start your story writing lessons in KS2 today!

What are story starters?

A word or words that begins a story. Intentionally opened ended, they point children towards a particular theme or situation and can remove the tricky initial phase of story writing.

Ideal story starters for KS2

  1. The three of them peered into the dark cave.
  2. Suddenly, it turned around and faced her.
  3. Time stopped. People stopped. Cars stopped. Everything around me paused, frozen in time.
  4. The creature screamed and ran towards them.
  5. Her stomach dropped.
  6. I had never seen an alien. But I guess there’s a first time for everything.
  7. Am I in hell?
  8. As he walked along the cold, dark night, a rustling began from the trees…
  9. Then, a flash.
  10. Ben is 8, but in his world, that means something very different.
  11. This time she woke up early to try and catch it out. The clock struck 7. It was time…
  12. A hot, tingling sensation worked it’s way up my spine. It couldn’t be, could it?
  13. It was exactly as I feared.
  14. “We’ve been waiting a long time” Mum said. “Where on earth has he got to?”
  15. I sat on the grass and watched as it flailed in the wind.
  16. It was the smell that hit her first. She knew, long before she could see it, exactly what was next.
  17. He dashed down the stairs, as fast as his legs could carry him. The post had arrived, but was it what he’d hoped for?
  18. “Help!” A frightened shriek came from inside. I crept towards the door…
  19. “Can you see that?” He asked. I could barely believe it, but…
  20. It was a cold and miserable morning. The clouds were low and chill and setting in. But still, we couldn’t stop due to the weather.
  21. “Welcome.” We all looked round in awe. “This is the future.”
  22. That familiar feeling returned, as if I was being watched. What was out there?
  23. The rumours were true. The warnings were real and the time has come. Were we ready for what was about to happen?
  24. The three friends set out on their journey, with nothing but each other to help them for what lied ahead.
  25. The car lurched down the road when suddenly a thud came from below.
  26. The tap on my shoulder woke me. “Shhh” she said with a finger pressed to her lips. “Follow me”.
  27. Outside, the sun was shining, with children and adults alike basking in its warm glow. For Caroline, she could only watch on with her nose pressed against the window.
  28. Sally looked around the spaceship, eyes widening with each step. She had never seen anything like it.
  29. “Will you keep it down!” Grandpa thudded from downstairs with his walking stick. But of course, it wasn’t me making all the noise.
  30. It was the first time I’d been on holiday. I stood for a moment and took it all in. The first thing I noticed was…
  31. Outside, the leaves were falling and the grass was turning into a murky brown. Out went summer barbecues and in came Autumn dew.
  32. I felt an odd sensation in my shoe.

All children need is a tiny prod in the right direction and they will come back with the most amazing tales for you to laugh, cringe, wince or cry at! Feel free to expand upon and adapt our examples; we are only prodding you to get the creative juices flowing.


Free writing to help with story writing

If after you have given children story starters, they are still struggling, it could be a confidence issue. Free writing is a fantastic way of freeing children of their own worries over their own writing.


Principles of free writing

Free writing is pretty much what it says on the tin. But there are some principles to stand by to ensure free writing has the desired effect of kick-starting creative juices. Children are given a writing implement (whatever they feel most comfortable with) and something to write on and told to write. Just write. Here’s a few pointers to make clear to children before they begin.

  • Don’t stop writing during the allotted time.
  • You’re going to time the free write and encourage those who stop to think to keep going.
  • If that means writing the same word or letters over and over until a new thought comes into the writer’s head, then so be it.
  • The work won’t be marked, or even looked at if the writer doesn’t want it to.
  • Spelling, punctuation and grammar doesn’t matter.

Last tip: if your class are adhering to the rules okay, have a go yourself! It’s really good practice to have a go at the activity you expect your pupils to have a go at, plus it’s really enjoyable!

It’s good to start off with short one-minute bursts of free writing in the beginning. Demonstrate you mean what you say with marking, SPaG and reading out: it’s an unusual experience for pupils for their work not to be scrutinised. This activity will help pupils empty their head of worries, ruminating thoughts and distractions from their writing. It might also provide them with inspiration for story writing. Have a go at free writing before beginning any creative writing session, or even use it to begin a story. Provide them with the story starter and then get them to continue the story writing during the free write. It’s only a minute or two and could make all the difference to their writing.

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