My Child Writes Unrealistic Compositions

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Unrealistic compositions: Are they problematic?

When your child tells a story, does it tend to be ‘out of this world’ or removed from reality?

This is actually quite natural in children’s stories, and even beautiful. With their innocence and childlike naivety, children often generate ideas that are utopia-like or ‘too good to be true’.

For example, one of our Primary Three students who was presenting her composition plan about bullying said that one of the bullies would feel compassionate towards the victim; he would throw a bandage for his victim to wrap his wound before fleeing the scene.

Is this improbable? Yes, perhaps. Is it impossible? Absolutely not.

Sadly, many children have been penalised for writing such unlikely scenarios in their school compositions. For these writing tasks, they are often instructed to only write realistic stories. And they find it baffling when their teachers tell them that whatever they are writing is not realistic enough, because in their minds, it certainly is!

How can I explain to my child that unrealistic scenarios would not work for school compositions?

There is no easy way to explain this, except to say that they have to consider their target audience when writing. In this case, their target audience is made up of adult teachers who expect their compositions to be highly probable in real life.

Does this mean that our children can never write utopian-like compositions or fantasy stories?

Absolutely not! This is why we always provide our students with platforms and opportunities to express their creativity so that we do not let their imaginative powers go to waste. With these powers, they are able to write sci-fi stories, futuristic stories and even their own fairy tales!

Besides, in literature, there is something called ‘suspension of disbelief’, where the writer calls on their audience to momentarily avoid using their rational or logical side and instead surrender to the world of make-believe in their stories.

A row of very used books lined up  with the spines facing you. Most visible is the book on the extreme right, which is 'Oh, The Places You'll Go!'. Others include 'Fireman Sam', 'Errol the Peril' and 'Who's That in the Mirror?'
Different stories for different seasons

Thinking about stories across a spectrum

Therefore, it is imperative for children to understand the boundaries and limits of the writing tasks. We often make it a point to remind our students that they can be experimental and imaginative during our classes, and more realistic when writing their school compositions.

Once they understand this difference, they will become more versatile writers–with flexibility to boot!

Need support in evaluating your child’s work? Write to us at mail@artisticstrategies.com.sg and let us know how we can help!

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