How to enhance children’s imagination in reading

creative creativity critical reading elt imagination story storytelling strategies Oct 22, 2021

By Dr Jeremy Koay

Most of us would agree that innovation is a result of imagination and creativity. How can language teachers and parents encourage children to be more imaginative and creative when reading stories? Consider these six ideas.

1. Connect with your experiences

Go beyond comprehension check questions. Ask children what the setting of the story reminds them of. Ask them whether they know a person who is similar to a character from a story.

2. Imagine the setting and characters

When children use their imagination to describe objects in a story (e.g., a talking tree, a flying car), do not stop them. While reading a story to children, you can ask them to close their eyes. Ask them what they see.

3. Provide solutions

Most stories present a problem (sometimes called a complication). Ask children to identify the problem and provide possible solutions. As the goal is to promote creativity, avoid correcting their solutions, as this might discourage them from exploring new ideas.

4. Draw after you read

You can ask children to draw a scene or character from a story which they have just read. After drawing the picture, they should be given opportunities to explain their drawing.

5. End the story differently

There are at least two ways to encourage children to end a story. They can guess the ending of a story before reading it. Alternatively, they can provide a different ending after they have finished the story.

6. Create a character

After reading a story, ask children to add a character to make the story more interesting. Encourage them to describe or draw the character, and talk about his or her role in the story.

Dr Jeremy Koay is a New Zealand-based Independent Researcher and a Research & Development Consultant at EduMaxi. He obtained his PhD in Applied Linguistics from Victoria University of Wellington in 2015. His research interests include Discourse Analysis, Genre Analysis and TESOL.

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