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October 2, 2012 / catherinebwrites


NO! I won’t jump over the stile.


I spent yesterday  afternoon with  Carolann Copland’s  creative writing clubs for kids.  [


The first group were  5/6 year olds.    I told them the  story of The Pig that Won’t Jump Over the Stile.  They joined in,making all the animal noises.  We talked about the story and they told me about  grannies and aunties who lived on farms and their chickens, dogs, horses, cats and cows.  

Next Carolann got them to tell the story which they had created themselves.   It took place under the sea, at Emily the sea-horse’s birthday party.  They acted it out and found an ending for it.


The pig jumped over the stile…

The 7/8 year olds came next.   I told the Pig story again.   They joined in with the “stick won’t beat dog, dog won’t bite pig, pig won’t jump over the stile.”  sequences.  Aftterwards, one boy was worried about  “the rope began to hang the butcher .”  The Story Club has a  rule, no stories about guns, knives or things that  can hurt another person.  


I’d broken the rule.    I had to  assure them that no butchers were harmed in the making of this story.

Another boy was anxious to know what happened after.   Did the pig have piglets?   How many did she have?   Did the old lady sell them?    How much did she get for them?  Clearly a financier in the making.    


The answers are:  Yes. Eight. Yes. And 97 silver sixpences. 

For the next ten minutes Carolann had them write a story .

“Busy pencils, busy pencils, ” she urged.

The pencils were very busy indeed.   When they’d finished they each read their story aloud to the group.  Then everyone took a turn to show us the book they are reading and to talk about it. 

 NEW YORK / LONDON/IRISH TIMES PLEASE NOTE:      Accomplished reviewers in the making.

If you were a fly on the wall you might be tempted to think. “Kids story club – that’s easy”.   Yeah, right!     Carolann makes it look easy.   But it’s not nearly as easy as it looks .   She’s designed in such a way that first and foremost the children enjoy it, so that they  feel recognised and appreciated and at the same time they  learn lots.


 How to listen.   Knowing when to stay quiet.  Appropriate behaviour. How to give others space.   To attend to the opinions of others.  Use  imagination.  How to discuss a topic.   How to critically assess a story/book.  New vocabulary.   Reading    Writing.   Love of stories/books.   How to perform in front of a group.  

You have to be good to keep children that young learning all that and still interested and involved.  

Carolann isn’t just good, she’s brilliant.

She sold the piglets for 97 silver sixpences

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