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creative writing club primary school

Creative writing ideas – how to run your own club

creative writing club primary school

Would you rather fly, or be invisible? Explore endless impossibilities and get pupils into the scribbling spirit with these ideas…

Mel Taylor-Bessent

If you could wish for one thing, knowing that it would definitely come true, what would it be?

A million pounds? To fly? To talk to animals? To live in a tree house? To travel the world at the click of a finger?

I’ve asked this question hundreds of times to thousands of pupils, and their answers are always imaginative, normally well thought-out, and quite often, impossible . 

I then follow it up with the question, “What if you could experience that thing right here, right now?”

Cue eyes widening, ears pricking and backs straightening. “All you need is… a pencil.” 

Creative writing club

Before becoming an author, I ran creative writing clubs in 30 schools a week for almost a decade.

I hired over 100 tutors, won some awards, teamed up with publishers to arrange author events, and even had requests from teachers in Europe, Dubai and Australia asking to launch a club in their schools.

There were long waiting lists in almost every setting, and teachers, parents and librarians would ask on a weekly basis, “How have you turned that reluctant reader/writer into someone that actually wants to do more writing after school?”   

The secret? 

First and foremost, I planned workshops that were FUN. I knew if I enjoyed running them, pupils would enjoy taking part.

I was just another writer in the room who talked about the books I was reading, collaborated on ideas, and asked for feedback on stories in the same way they asked me.

I wasn’t a published author at this point – just someone that loved to invent characters and write about fantastical, magical worlds.

I wrote alongside the students, making mistakes, scribbling over anything I didn’t like, and asking for help whenever I got stuck.

Everyone knew this was just ‘rough’ work. There was no pressure. No marking. No tests. And we didn’t have to share our ideas if we didn’t want to.

I genuinely looked forward to every single workshop I ran, and I know the students felt the same when they came racing into the classroom and didn’t want to leave at the end (yes, even the ones who ‘hated’ writing to begin with!).  

Of course, I couldn’t rely on pupils simply coming up with new ideas each week for enjoyment. I had to provide them with inspiration, jumping-off points, and exciting writing hooks, too.

For this, I turned to the experts – children’s authors. I chose five ‘Authors of the Term’ that I knew would enthuse and inspire the students, and designed workshops around their books.

This was always a fun part of the process – I looked for books that had wide appeal, simple concepts, and an excitable element that made my inner child say ‘ oooh!’.  

Here are a few examples . . . 

Writing for pleasure

I used Abi Elphinstone’s Rumblestar to write fast-paced adventure stories. We plotted our adventures on maps, devised the main action in ‘cloud planners’, and focused on exciting ‘world-crossing moments’ to start our stories.

At Halloween, I chose books like Guy Bass’ Stitch Head and Joseph Coelho’s Zombierella , and ended each workshop with a spooky storytelling session where we turned off the lights, closed the blinds, and sat on the floor as if we were gathered around a campfire!  

The most successful workshops were the simplest. I used L.D. Lapinski’s Strangeworlds series and copied what happened to the protagonist when she jumped inside a suitcase and travelled to another world.

Pupils planned their new setting, focused on the five senses, and described the first thing they noticed when they arrived.

Their stories were thrilling, fast-paced, hugely descriptive, and completely individual, because they had the freedom to take their ideas in any direction they chose. 

I normally scheduled two sessions around each book – the first session involved planning and starting stories (or poems / diary entries / letters, etc), and the second session involved extending, improving, or continuing them.

I also added one ‘paint a picture’ session (using images for inspiration) and ‘free writing’ at the end of each term to give pupils a chance to finish their favourite piece of work.   

Remember, if you want to boost writing for pleasure, pupils should know that they can write about anything. Nothing is off limits. Nothing is impossible. Nothing is ‘wrong’.

And if you’re not sure how to start your first session, why not ask your pupils that if there was one thing they could wish for, knowing that it would definitely come true… what would it be?

Creative writing activities

1) Distraction!   Beware: pupils love this game so much, they might ask to play it every week! The idea is simple. Children write for 10 minutes, in silence, and if they speak / laugh / stop writing for an extended period of time, they get a ‘strike’.

If a table gets three strikes, they risk not being allowed to read their work out. The twist? It’s your job to distract them!

Shake tables and shout ‘EARTHQUAAAAKE!’, steal their pens, use rulers as drumsticks, play songs they’ll want to sing along to, bust out the YMCA and get caught by a bemused headteacher.

Between the giggling and dancing in their seats, pupils will write so much in these 10 minutes, and it’s a great way to get them writing without overthinking.     2) Where am I?   Give students a setting (e.g. a library / the moon / horse stables / a rocket ship) and challenge them to describe it without saying where it is.

They should focus on the five senses. They must give at least three clues before the class can guess where it is, and the person who guesses correctly gets the next go.

The winner is the person who gets the most correct answers or the person that comes up with your favourite description.     3) Five-minute challenge   Tell pupils that most adults can write two lines in one minute, and then challenge them to write 10 lines in five!

Give constant time reminders, walk around the room shouting out ideas or words of encouragement, and watch their competitiveness soar.

This is a great game to play if, like me, you spend most of the lesson talking about books and story ideas, and realise there’s not much writing time left!     4) One-word game   This game is a great way to warm up imaginations at the start of a workshop. Ask pupils to stand behind their chairs and give them an opening line such as, ‘I was walking through the haunted castle when . . .’.

Walk (actually, it’s more of a run) around the room, pointing at each pupil in turn, and asking them to add one word to the story.

It must make sense and they have three seconds to answer. If they can’t think of a word, if it doesn’t make sense, or if they take too long, they are out and must sit down.

The winner is the last person standing. Note: when they get really good, try introducing a one-second hesitation rule – it’s hilarious!  

  5) What’s your problem?    

Remind students that every story needs a problem to make it exciting.

Then ask them to stand behind their chairs and each give one problem like, ‘aliens invaded Earth’ or ‘I broke a fingernail’.

Problems can be big or small, but they must give an answer in three seconds, and they can’t repeat anything that’s already been said. The winner is the last person standing. 

Mel Taylor-Bessent is the author of The Christmas Carrolls and the director of the award-winning educational website, Authorfy . See more of Mel’s work at

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Date : April 23, 2023

Start a Writing Club at Your Child’s Primary School

Do you have a primary school aged child who loves writing? Encourage them to delve into creative writing by setting up a writing club at your child’s school! While it might seem like a difficult project to take on, there are so many resources available and knowledgeable people in your school and the wider community that can help. Here are a few ideas to get you started!  

How do I start a primary school writing club?

  • 1. Find a willing teacher, librarian, or teacher librarian, to get on board with your idea.  
  • 2. Get your blue card so you’re approved to work with children.  
  • 3. Find an appropriate venue. This could be at school, or in your local library, or any other appropriate meeting place where children can meet safely and have fun!  
  • 4. Talk to your local library, your state library, the Centre of Children’s Literature, or any other organisation that may be able to help you with designing and planning your sessions. Local libraries often have writing workshops on offer for children during school holidays – Brisbane Libraries have had previous workshops hosted by authors like Andy Griffiths. These would be fantastic resources to help you figure out how to best present the writing club.  
  • 5. Talk to the teacher/librarian about promotion and how to inform kids of where and when your sessions will be held.  
  • 6. Be available to answer any questions, provide any feedback on stories if requested, and be receptive to any ideas from kids, parents, and teachers on what to include in the sessions.  
  • 7. Keep in mind that these sessions are supposed to be fun!  

Where can I go for inspiration?

State libraries such as the State Libraries of Queensland , New South Wales and Victoria all have loads of resources available to help you start your primary school’s book club. You can customise your sessions based on the needs of the students who have expressed an interest in joining the club. There are also several fantastic young writers organisations and groups across the country that could provide inspiration or insight into creating an effective writing group.   

Group of Primary School kids in writing club

Photo by Kirill Ozerov at Pexels

How should I plan it? What should each session look like?  

Start small and work your way up to more complex ideas. Try to incorporate things like:  

Writing prompts

These can be question cards to get the ball rolling and the creative juices flowing. It gives the kids somewhere to start.  

Story chains

This is a collaborative type of storytelling where a story is passed around in a circle, and the students each add on their own sentence. The first time you do this, you could write the beginning sentence.  

Inspiration packs

These include photos or illustrations that will kickstart kids’ imaginations. An image can be used as the basis for a story idea that kids can build on.  

Descriptive writing activities

This is a more complex writing activity where the kids write about a place, person, or thing in a way that creates a picture in the reader’s mind. Writers often use this technique to bring a scene to life, and it’s a valuable skill for your kids to learn to help make their writing more compelling.    

For more ideas, check out this great article on how to inspire kids to write!

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Creative Writing Club for Primary Schools

Creative Writing Club (for schools and libraries)

£ 0.00 / year


Creative Writing Club is free for schools and teachers to use. Although it is free for non commercial use, the resources on the site are copyright.

You don’t need to sign up to use the site – just head over to our themes area and start writing ! But if you want to submit your classes’ stories to the Hall of Fame then we do need you to register.

Creative Writing Club us a new way to get pupils writing. Our interactive apps will whiz your pupils through their planning and get them writing faster. Topics cover everything from the rainforest to unicorns!  Primary history topics include: mammoth hunt, the bronze age, Boudicca, gladiators, Greek myths, Anglo-Saxons, Vikings, Victorians and many more.

Pupils can write their own stories online using tablet, iPad, PC or Mac.  Alternatively, teachers can use Creative Writing Club as a fun way to set up writing tasks in class. (Brainstorm a story in class on the IWB using the app – then give out the handouts and get the class writing in pairs using pencils and paper).

Once the stories are written, they can appear in our Hall of Fame (great for motivating your writers). The Hall of Fame is viewable by anyone and it is premoderated. We update the hall of fame once a month during term time but every story needs to be read by a grown up before it appears so please bear with us.

Bring Creative Writing Club to your school with a writing workshop .

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How to Start a Creative Writing Club for Kids

creative writing club primary school

I pitched the idea to a friend of mine, a professor of creative writing, who very graciously shared with me exercises she does with her grad students. It took some work but I brought them down to a level I thought would work with 4 th -6 th graders.

Next I had to get buy in from the school principal to run an after school club and use the library. She loved the idea but reminded me I needed a ‘baby sitter’ because I’m not a credentialed teacher. The librarian agreed to keep me on the straight and narrow and I promised to keep his library in good working order.

From there, I got myself invited to a PTA meeting to see if they would throw me some funds to run the club. Really all I wanted were notebooks, pencils and a few other little things here and there to help with the writing exercises. They said yes and I was off.

We meet once a month for an hour. We have two rules for Writing Club. The first is we are respectful of everyone’s ideas; if a fellow student is reading his/her work aloud, we are quiet and listen closely. The second is no one has to read if they don’t want to. No pressure. I also give away middle grade books I’m done reading. Winners beam like they’ve just won the lottery.

creative writing club primary school

September’s giveaway books

At our first meeting this year fifty students showed up! I ran out of everything – notebooks, pencils, seats, table space – but seeing these kids, scribbling away, giving voice to the stories in their heads, gave me hope for the future.

(for specifics on the writing exercises, please visit my website )

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This is a great idea! Thanks for sharing.

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50!!! Wow! That gives me hope for the future, too. I am so crazy busy this year but would love to do host a NaNoWriMo group for our middle school students. Maybe I should do it a different time of year and follow your lead. Thanks for the inspiration!

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Absolutely love your idea and your website describing how you present the writing program. If I were a kid again, I would run to get to the head of line for your program. Thank you for teaching.

  • Author Spotlight: Landra Jennings + a GIVEAWAY September 11, 2023 by Jo Hackl   In today’s Author Spotlight, Jo Hackl chats with author Landra Jennings about her new middle-grade novel, Wand (Clarion Books, October 31). She’ll share her inspiration behind writing it, the works of literature that influenced it,... Read more →

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How to Start a Creative Writing Club

Last Updated: October 25, 2022 References

This article was co-authored by Ashley Pritchard, MA . Ashley Pritchard is an Academic and School Counselor at Delaware Valley Regional High School in Frenchtown, New Jersey. Ashley has over 3 years of high school, college, and career counseling experience. She has an MA in School Counseling with a specialization in Mental Health from Caldwell University and is certified as an Independent Education Consultant through the University of California, Irvine. This article has been viewed 33,625 times.

Do you have a passion for creative writing that you want to take to the next level? A great way to grow your writing skills is to start a creative writing club, where you can share your work with others who are invested in cultivating the same craft. Working with people who share similar interests to you is both fun and incredibly rewarding!

Things You Should Know

  • If you’re a student, talk to your favorite English teacher and ask them to sponsor the club; the odds are extremely high that they’ll be thrilled by the idea!
  • If you’re running the club, remember that different members are likely there for unique reasons—include a variety of poetry, fiction, non-fiction, and screenwriting activities.
  • For a younger crowd, include a writing activity with every meeting and encourage members to share their work—be super supportive!
  • Make sure that if you’re doing any workshop-style discussions that the members understand that critiquing someone’s work does not mean criticizing them as people.
  • Clubs with older members will likely attract a good number of experienced writers, so you may want to start meetings by asking members if they’ve been working on anything they’d like feedback on before going into activities, lectures, or discussions.

Forming Your Club

Step 1 Name your club.

  • Possible locations include your house, public park, an open classroom, or anywhere else you can meet and converse without disturbing others.

Step 3 Recruit and invite members.

  • Word of mouth: Invite friends and acquaintances, and ask them to spread the word and bring their friends! Talk openly and excitedly about your club: your enthusiasm will help draw the interest of others. It’s a good idea to invite very broadly to begin with: the people who are truly invested in your club will show up and stick around.
  • Posters and fliers: Design a cool flier and post it around school or your workplace! This is a nice way to draw attention to your club.
  • Social media: For example, you can create a Facebook Event for the first meeting and share it widely with your friends!

Step 4 Consider searching for and recruiting an advisor.

  • If you do decide to ask someone to be your advisor, be considerate of their time and respectful when making your request. Sending them an introductory email explaining your plans (in as much detail as you can) will allow them to make an informed decision. It is also courteous to offer to meet in person or talk over the phone/Skype so that they can ask any questions they might have before they make their decision.
  • Advisors can be involved in a variety of ways, and this should be a conversation that you have directly with your potential advisor. Will they attend meetings? Will they offer guidance from afar? These are questions that are best to ask early on.

Step 5 Fill out and submit any necessary registration forms.

  • This is related to possibly need an advisor: some schools require an advisor's signature on club registration forms. Once again, just be sure to research your school, university, or organization's requirements.

Step 6 Decide your genre.

Holding for Your First Meeting

Step 1 Prepare the agenda.

  • You can choose an icebreaker that is relevant to the theme (if applicable) of your club, or you choose something entirely random. The point of this activity is to lighten the mood and help your members get to know each other and feel more comfortable opening up and sharing their work. Classic icebreakers like " Two Truths and Lie " (where everyone shares two true facts and a lie about themselves, and others guess the fabrication) and the "Name Game" (where each person has to find an adjective to describe themselves that starts with the same letter as their name) can be great simple options. [2] X Research source

Step 3 Include a creative writing exercise.

  • Write about an animal of your choice.
  • Open up a dictionary, pick a word, and write what it means to you.
  • Create a poem or story that starts with "Hello."
  • Write a piece that's inspired by a conversation you've recently overheard.
  • Write about something you dread or fear.

Step 4 Decide if you want to appoint club officers.

  • If voting proves too messy (this might be the case, especially if you have many members), an easy and neutral online tool that may help you decide when to hold meetings is (or other similar scheduling applications).

Step 6 Define your club's mission.

  • Is your main goal as a group to spark new writing ideas together and actually practice writing during the meetings, or to critique and improve one another's written works? Alternatively, you may want to operate as more of a social/support group for writers, where you talk about your craft and hold one another accountable for your personal writing goals. Decide your focus together, and build that into your mission. [4] X Research source

Step 7 Talk about the structure of your club.

  • Bringing a large sheet of paper and pens (or whiteboard markers if your location has a whiteboard) can be a nice way of involving members in this process. Members can take turns suggesting and writing ideas. You can keep this piece of paper as a reminder for future meetings, or you can take it, type it up, and print it and share copies (or a combination).

Keeping Your Club Going

Step 1 Clearly communicate contact information.

  • It is helpful to bring a notebook to meetings so that new members can share their e-mails and/or phone numbers, and so that you can then add them to any groups or lists.

Step 2 Keep club members informed about future meetings and events.

  • It's a good idea to start an e-mail list, a Facebook group, and maybe a group chat so that you can add members and keep them informed and up to date on club meetings and activities. It's all up to you, but clear communication will help your club flourish.

Step 3 Consider how you will handle writing partners.

  • If you do choose to have writing partnerships be a part of your club structure, you may want to consider assigning writing partners randomly as well as have people change partners periodically. It's a good idea to try to prevent cliques from forming for many reasons: so that no one feels left out, so that members are receiving feedback on their work from multiple perspectives, and so that people are establishing many connections with many different members of different style, backgrounds, and personalities.
  • Give members ideas of how to connect with their writing partner. Suggest accessible practices such as, "After you've written your piece, share it with your partner via Google Docs so that you can read each other's work. Then, coordinate a time to meet and discuss one your work in person." Encourage members to do whatever feels most comfortable to them.

Step 4 Gather ongoing feedback from your members.

  • One way to do this is creating and sharing the link to a standing Google Form that is specifically designed for feedback. Creating an anonymous Google Form (or whatever type of digital survey works best for you) will encourage members to voice their opinions. It's good to establish protocol for how this feedback will be dealt with, early on: will you (as the leader) check the responses regularly, and will suggestions be discussed at meetings?
  • Another way to gather feedback is to designate an allotted amount of time during meetings to open up the discussion for feedback and suggestions.
  • If you and your members do decide that you want to discuss feedback weekly (however you choose to gather it, whether electronically or during meetings), you may also want to discuss the format of this discussion. Will it be an informal discussion? Will people vote? Will it depend on the feedback? These are good points to consider early on when determining club guidelines.

Step 5 Make sure that you have a plan moving forward.

  • Let members know what they should bring to the next meeting (i.e. laptop, notebooks, pens, etc.).
  • Ideally, set at least a loose agenda for your next meeting, before you wrap up your first one. Your goal should be to get right down to writing and club discussions in your subsequent meetings, now that you've set some ground rules and expectations. [6] X Trustworthy Source University of North Carolina Writing Center UNC's on-campus and online instructional service that provides assistance to students, faculty, and others during the writing process Go to source

Community Q&A

Community Answer

  • Bringing snacks can be a fun addition to any meeting. But be sure to communicate any allergens (nuts, dairy, etc.)! This will help incentivize people to come to the meetings, and—particularly if your club is hosted during lunch or after school—makes sure that no one is hungry entirely. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
  • Bringing some extra notebooks and pens to the first meeting (or first few meetings) is always a good idea, just in case someone forgets their own. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
  • Try this fun activity: Pass sheets of paper around so everyone has one. Have everyone write the beginning of a story, pass the sheet to the person on their right, and have them continue the story (then folding the sheet over so the next person can only see the most recently added sentence, not any of the previous sentences). It's sort of like the game "telephone," and you can theme it around a particular topic! Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0

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Everybody Writes: writing groups

Added 29 Aug 2019 | Updated 26 May 20

NLT Poetry Slam - 28.06 (38 of 115).jpg

A writing group is a great way to establish a writing culture in your school. The resources provided on this page provide guidance on starting your own writing club, and will help you inspire students to enjoy writing as well as developing skills. The activities work well for extra-curricular writing groups, but can also be used with smaller groups within class teaching.

Writing club guides

These are available for both primary and secondary audiences and include:

  • guidance on setting up a writing club
  • tips on planning
  • games and activities
  • advice on evaluating the impact of the club
  • how to sustain the club over time.

Once your writing club is up and running, you might be interested in some of our other resources:

  • Do you have the next Lenny Henry or Sarah Millican in your writing club? Try our Comedy Classroom resource produced in partnership with the BBC
  • Cressida Cowell's Free Writing Friday resources have some great tips for free writing and getting the creative juices flowing

We will continue to update the page with real examples from schools around the UK. To share the achievements of your writing club, please email us .

Find out more about Everybody Writes .

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