Articles for parents

Improve your English skills by writing your first short story

Nov 2023

Here at Kumon, we love stories and reading. In fact, we have a whole list of books that we love and recommend! One of the most fun things about stories is making up your own so we came up with five easy steps that you can follow to write your own short story.

Step 1: decide on your characters

Who is your story going to be about? Will it be about a forgetful elephant, or a big, hairy monster? Maybe a boy on a farm who dreams about spaceships? Think about their personality, what they look like, and their likes and dislikes.

Step 2: think about your setting

Where will your story take place? Where will the characters go during the story? It could all take place in a little mousehole, or be a big journey across a field, or maybe in a hot, hot desert! The best part is, you don’t have to only have one setting – your story can happen wherever you like so long as there’s a reason for the characters to go there.

Step 3: what do your characters want?

Your characters will need to have a goal, something that they can work towards that the story can be about. Perhaps the little girl wants to be a genius scientist, or the boy wants to be a hero like his father. Whatever it is your characters want, it shouldn’t be too easy for them to get – this is what your story will be about after all!

Step 4: what challenges will your characters face on the way?

For a story to be interesting, your characters will need to face problems on the way. Everyone will want to know how your characters will solve these challenges so think of something exciting! Maybe your characters will get lost on the way home, or run out of food on their boat, or need to escape from a space station! You don’t have to stop at one set back, but make sure you think of clever and fun ways for your characters to overcome them – this is what will make your story fun to read.

Step 5: what will happen when they reach their goals?

This is the ending of your story, so make sure it’s something that the reader will remember. Would your characters like to celebrate with a huge feast, or by going to sleep in their nice, warm beds? What about with a big, shiny medal? At Kumon, we enjoy happy endings and successes so think of a lovely reward!

Once you’ve written your story, read it out loud as it will help you check if you’ve made any spelling mistakes. Writing stories is lots of fun, and there are always new stories waiting to be made up - if you enjoyed writing it, show it to your Kumon Instructor who can send it to us so we can read it too!