Learning With Your Child

For a fun way to engage children in writing, try giving prompts for stories that must be one hundred words exactly–not a word over and not a word under. Give them three unrelated words or phrases. For example, “rusty,” “avocado,” and “pink sweater.” They must write a story using all three of the prompt terms in exactly one hundred words.

I’m a wordy writing, so when I began participating in a 100 Word challenge on Gather I didn’t have high hopes. It didn’t even sound like much fun. Boy, was I wrong. It turned out to be one of the best writing excercises I’ve ever used. You actually can get across a story in 100 words, but you must be very choosy about the words you use. You have to convey a lot of meaning using not so many words.

This exercise is a great way for your child to develop their ability to choose the best and most precise words for a piece of writing.

Here are a few more three-term prompts.

“lily,” “medicine,” and “fox”
“strange,” “boat,” and “three”
“popcorn,” “sweater,” and “fake”


One response to “Learning With Your Child

  1. So true! I’ve used this 100 word challenge (also first discovered on Gather) to sharpen my writing pencil from the dull nub of too, too many unnecessary modifiers. When the right choices are made, the shavings aren’t missed and the story runs with cleaner lines, is more reader friendly, and satisfying to writer and reader.

    p.s. I once built a sweater by threading stale popcorn on fishing line and knitting the line in a cable pattern. Birds were a threat the first time I wore it to the park, but soon enough they realized the popcorn was stale, almost fake, and they let me continue on, a few kernals less, but still warm!

    Only 27 words, but fun! Thanks, Becky, for sharing the 100 word challenge. Nice blog, by the way.

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