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Stream of Consciousness

By Sue Cowley
Age Range: 5 to 11

This is a really good way of helping your children to examine their language and decide which words they really need to use, and which are superfluous. It can lead to some excellent descriptive writing or poetry.

1. Ask your children to write a 'stream of consciousness'. This means they should write for a set amount of time (perhaps 1 - 3 minutes). They must keep writing continuously, without stopping at all. If their brains seize up, tell them to keep writing the same word over and over until they think of something else. You could give them a specific topic to write on, or just ask them to write whatever comes into their heads.

2. When they have finished, tell them to put down their pens and count how many words they have written.

3. Now they must cut that number exactly in half. They should cut out any words that they feel are boring, not important, or repetitive, but they must end up with exactly 50% of the original number.

4. When they have done this, repeat the cutting again, so that they end up with 25% of the words they started with.

5. Now, using only these words, they should turn them into either a piece of poetry, or a piece of writing.

6. When they've finished, ask volunteers to read out their finished piece of writing.

7. Another idea is that they can 'barter' words, swopping their own words with others to get the words they need.

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