Students' Stories

I wanted this page to really celebrate some of my students fantastically creative writing.

When they have been coming to me for a while (often over a year or two) and I feel we have made good in-roads into their phonic ability and knowledge of high frequency words, I often start incorporating some creative writing into the sessions.

I usually only give them 6 or 7 minutes to make a start and then we check the work together. For me one of the most important things is punctuation since this really enables the reader to make sense of the work. Spellings are normally phonically spelt and can be made sense of but I feel full stops and capital letters are really important. 

The vital thing from my perspective is to build confidence and give the student space to write without lots of constraints. I want them to have a go, not be afraid of making mistakes, and get to the point where they can get their ideas down on paper.

The children I teach are usually under confident with their writing and they often find this kind of exercise challenging. That's why 6-8 minutes is usually enough! You can see many of the stories below are quite long. That's because they felt so inspired that they continued writing at home and wanted to finish. 

The work you see has all been edited for spellings and punctuation either by myself or by a parent.

Most recent stories are at the top of the page.

The first story on this page was written by 8 year old Archie (now 9!). His Mum asked if I could set him up with an idea for the summer to give him a focus in the holidays. So this was written totally at home but the idea for the story was discussed in our last lesson before breaking up in July 2023. Archie wrote the story on paper and then read it out to his Mum who typed it up.

An Upward Struggle by Archie age 8.

An upward struggle

One day there was a man who went climbing in France. While he was climbing the sun was setting.  He got a ledge and had a break. Suddenly a leopard came out of the darkness, but it was a baby.  However, then an adult leopard jumped out!  It knocked the man off the cliff and he fell but his t-shirt got caught on a stick.  Then a falcon swooped him up and took him to their nest.  Luckily, he managed to escape and only had a few scratches and two splinters.  

He never went climbing again.

The next story was written in June/July 2023 by 11 year old Rowan. He is a student with a big interest in history and he particularly found the story of The Titanic fascinating. The Britannic is the sister ship and from the start he had very clear ideas about how he wanted the story to go. We worked on it during about 4 lessons in the summer term of 2023 and I think you'll agree it's a brilliant story. 

As a tutor I see myself at the base camp of Everest - giving the children the tools and the space to do the climbing! If they're completely stuck for ideas I'll offer them some thoughts; if they become too repetitive in their choice of words, I'll suggest they think of alternatives; if they're missing out punctuation we'll discuss it in the read through. In Rowan's case, little guidance was needed. He wanted to talk through a few aspects but on the whole he was very clear about how he wanted to write this story. I think you'll enjoy it! 

The Britannic by Rowan Short age 11


As the old man sat in his armchair, the glowing fire illuminated the damp walls of his cottage. He took a leather bound book out from one of the shelves and turned the page. Just looking at his diary triggered so many memories of being a second class passenger on board the RMS Britannic.

20th November 1919                                                                                                                          What a fantastic day. Mother and Father let me roam the decks on my own. I couldn’t help but feel jealous of all the other children playing hopscotch and playing cards with their parents. The vast turquoise ocean in front of me seemed like it would go on for ever. I couldn’t wait to get to Norway to see my grandmother and grandfather; I had not seen them in what felt like years.

21st November 1919                                                                                                I was awoken that night by the sound of the Britannic’s warning bell. I braced myself for impact. Bang! I felt the ship shudder as I sprang out of my bed. I was met with my mother’s petrified eyes staring into mine. My father grabbed me and mother by our arms and shoved us into the ship’s second class hallway, where we were met with a number of screaming passengers. We ran up the staircase and sprinted along the deck passing the queues of helpless people by each lifeboat. “Take one more step and you will be shot,” shouted a crew member pointing a revolver at a group of third class men fighting to get on a life boat. The crew ran along the decks giving lifebelts to anyone who didn’t have one.

In the distance I saw a faint light on the horizon as lifebelts were shoved into our stomachs. I prayed that it would be a ship coming to save us. I saw groups of men leaping over board and attempting to swim to a lifeboat before being pushed back with one of the oars. I couldn’t feel anything but terror rushing through my veins as my mother and I were pulled apart from my father for the very last time.

“FATHER!” I yelled at the top of my lungs. At that moment, I knew it would be the last time I saw him. I was rammed into a lifeboat. My father threw me my diary.                                 “Look after it. Every time you look at a full moon remember me,” he bellowed over the surrounding chaos, as the lifeboat was lowered into the black abyss of the ocean. I tucked the diary into my coat pocket and watched the ship’s rescue fireworks go up in the night sky.

The crew rowed as hard as they possibly could, trying to get away from the hordes of desperate passengers struggling to stay afloat. I looked back only to see crowds of helpless men, women and children running up the ship as it sloped even further into the Sea. My mind turned to my father. How could I have just let him go like that?

I could only make out the silhouette of the ship as the lights flickered off leaving the Britannic alone in the icy wind. The last specs of the ship disappeared into the North Sea as the corpses of the men and women who used to be on board the RMS Britannic bobbed on the surface of the ocean. I lay in my mother’s arms and cried myself to sleep.

22nd November 1919                                                                                                                          I was awoken early that morning from my vivid dream – I was dreaming the Britannic sunk on the way to Norway. I looked up at my mother’s pale face.  “Did the Britannic really sink?” I asked my mother in a nervous voice. She nodded. 

A deafening horn rang in my ear. I shifted uncomfortably as I lifted my heavy head only to see an immense ship tied up against my lifeboat. I looked to my left noticing a name engraved on the hull of the ship - HMS Warrior. My mother put a comforting arm around me but a moment later I was grabbed and lifted up onto a rope ladder. One by one we climbed up the ladder onto the deck of HMS Warrior. 

We were finally safe!

The old man rose up from his armchair and wandered over to the cottage window. He looked out of the window onto the grassy moor. He stared up at the full moon and thought about his father; he thought about the day his father died and he thought about his father’s grave. He sat back in his armchair with his diary clenched between his hands and drifted off to sleep…  

                                         The End

By Rowan Short – age 11        2.7.23

This story is called The Snow Leopard and is also written by Rowan - but when he was 9 years old! I think it's a really touching story and I hope he'll be happy seeing it up on the website! I felt that Rowan, like all good writers, had incorporated influences from various stories he'd read but really made it his own. I can see this as an animation on TV - rather like The Snowman by Raymond Briggs!

The Snow Leopard  - by Rowan age 9

Once upon a time there was a ten year old girl named Martha and this girl didn’t like animals. In fact she hated them. So one day her parents decided to take her to the circus. But Martha didn’t want to go. She had been to the circus once before, when a tiger leapt up to her and she thought it was going to bite her, but it actually just gave her a lick! She still did not want to go but her parents didn’t listen so off they went to the circus. 

When they got to the circus, Martha tried to run away. She was caught. She had to face it…                                           

Her angry parents led her to their circus seat where they sat down and watched the ring master’s opening speech. When the acts started, first up was acrobatics. Next up was tight rope walking and after that was fire eating. Martha started to enjoy it now but then came the animals! 

She held her breath, she closed her eyes and at the top of her voice Martha screamed. She ran outside the circus tent with her parents following after her. When they all sat down on the grass they started to calm Martha down. Before long, the show had ended and two of the animals’ tamers came out with a snow leopard on a lead. The two men went over to Martha and explained, “Do not be afraid,” but as he said that, Martha spotted a tear in the snow leopard’s eye.

Martha’s parents pulled her to their car and drove her home. They had dinner and then sent Martha to bed. But that night Martha couldn’t sleep because she was worrying about the snow leopard. When everyone was in bed she tiptoed down the stairs, put on her shoes and ran to the circus.                

Martha raced down the street and into the park. She saw the circus tent and sprinted towards it. She cautiously opened the tent door and peeked inside. She saw the snow leopard in a small metal cage, not too much bigger than itself. Martha unbolted the cage, and the snow leopard leapt into her arms. She turned to go before realising all the other animals wanted to go too. So she unbolted all of the animals’ cages and let them run free in the wild. She said farewell to the snow leopard and trudged back along the road to her house. She opened the door, tiptoed up the stairs, took off her shoes and got into bed. Now she was sad because she missed the snow leopard but she knew he would be happy.        

     THE END

Another World - by Ava Mustoe age 10

This started with a 6 minute session within a 45 minute lesson. Ava loved writing it so much that she took a screen shot of the picture below and continued at home. Both her parents and I were delighted with her newly found enthusiasm for writing!

Her dad has typed up the story (and edited it) but you can see how much she has written and once she'd started how the ideas continued to flow! This is an AMAZING achievement for Ava and it was because of her I created this page for everyone to share their stories!

I start off by showing the student a picture from the fantastic website Pobble365. 

We talk about it first and I make sure the child has some ideas. If there are some relevant words I might ask them to copy them down but basically I keep out of their way and give them space to get ideas down on paper.

I find when checking work, it's important not to pick out every single spelling error. That is the quickest way to demoralise anyone. I focus on words that I know the child has learnt in the past or words that can quickly be corrected. We also discuss where the punctuation should go.

Here is Ava's picture and fantastic story . . . 

Another world

A story by Ava Mustoe, aged 10

Her hands were freezing and her legs were shaking. She could see a bright light shining in her eyes. She got out her camera and took some photos. She could see hills and snow and also the stars above her. But there was something else. It was like a world but different. It was blue and purple and it glowed in the dark. There was also another bright light but this was in the ground. She stepped towards it and looked down the hole. But then she slipped. She had fallen into the bright light. There was a thump. She stood up and looked around. She couldn’t see anything apart from a little red door in a corner of the hole. She started walking towards the door. She took a deep breath and walked through the door. Suddenly she got pulled into darkness.

A while later she opened her eyes. There was a sudden scream. There was a lady standing over her. She also had two bunnies on her shoulders. The girl stood up. 

“What’s your name?” the lady screeched. 

“Bella” whispered the girl. 

“Hmmm, that’s a nice name. Now come with me. It’s going to rain soon”

So Bella followed the woman. They went into a little cottage.

“You can sleep on the straw” said the woman. 

So Bella lay on the straw and fell asleep. When Bella woke up she could hear the woman singing. It was as sweet as a bird. “Wait a minute, I know this song.” So Bella walked into the room and started singing with the lady. When they had finished singing the lady asked where Bella had heard that song. My mum sang it to me when I was younger. Hmmm, said the woman. I like the sound of your mum. 

“What’s your name?” said Bella.

“Hilary” she whispered.

“I like that name” replied Bella.

“Thank you” said the woman. “Now you must be hungry. Let me get you some food and water”

The next day Bella woke up to bunnies sitting on her lap. Bella walked into the kitchen with the bunnies in her hands. 

“How do I get out of here?” asked Bella.

“Well on the other side of this world is a blue door and if you go through it you will be back home” explained Hilary.

“But how do I get there?” asked Bella.

“Don’t worry I’ll take you there. Just let me get some things and then we’ll be on our way”

“Ok” said Bella. “Oh, and thank you”

Hilary smiled and went to get her stuff.

Later on they started walking through the flower beds and onto a stone path. Bella could see butterflies flying around. She could also see hedgehogs resting in the sun. When it got dark they set up a tent and made a fire. They roasted marshmallows on the fire and drank apple juice. Then they went to the tent and fell asleep. The next day they set off again. Soon after they got to the blue door.

“Well I guess this is goodbye then” said Bella.

“Yes” said Hilary.

They had a big hug and said goodbye. Bella took a deep breath and walked through the door. Later on she woke up at the noise of a train. She ran to the train and jumped onto it. 

When she got home she rang the doorbell. Her mum answered it. She gave Bella a big hug and took her inside to see the rest of her family.

- The end -

More stories by Ava.

Rupert - age 10 - Year 6

The second and third stories are by Rupert, a 10 year old, who has been coming to me for about three years. His skills have developed so much over the years and he is now a confident Year 6 ready for the rigours of Secondary School. 

The passages below were written in a 6-7 minute session. Afterwards we discussed a few of the words and he came up with alternatives where two words were repeated in the same sentence. We also spoke about keeping to one tense - in this case the past tense. I love his descriptive writing and how creative he has been.

He took about two or three minutes at the end to check his writing, reading them very carefully and making sure everything made sense. 

An Upward Struggle
by Rupert age 10

The warm evening sun shone down on my hot face. It was the day I climbed a mountain. I was half way up and every part of my body was screaming in pain. Down below there was the calm strong ocean brushing against this magnificent rock. Every step I made, a creak from the furry rope blazed upon me. I felt I could see for a thousand miles as I gazed towards the mountain beside me. The warmth from behind me caused my skin to sweat. 

After an hour of climbing I finally made it to the top. Proud of my hard work I shouted, “I did it! I did it!”

Looking at the rocky mountain I felt success course through my blood. Needing to sit down I crouched on the warm grass and rested. 

Christmas Wishes - by Rupert

The Christmas Tree - we all know it, we all love it, and most of us have one. Their lights shine like angels. The stars glitter like gold under the sea. Each ornament has a meaning. This Christmas I got to decorate the tree as well as carry it home. I love our tree and I hope you love yours too.

This was my essay on trees - Christmas trees to be specific. 

Herbie - age 10 - Year 6

The next story is by Herbie, a Year 6 boy, who has been coming to me for nearly a year. He was a very quiet student to start with but over time our relationship has grown and strengthened. I'm so pleased to be able to feature his work here. Herbie wrote the first paragraph in the allotted time of seven minutes and then did a bit more at home after the initial lesson. 

His second story about the snowmen was written in an 8 minute session of our lesson.

New York Is Falling
by Herbie age 10.

One day a massive stone-like asteroid hit earth because of a magnetic pull of the trains. It hit the top of the Statue of Liberty. Its head flung across the city.

Twenty years later a man stepped foot in New York. Joe was his name. He had heard a tale that the asteroid had a magnetic force that could take control of gravity. He was on the search for it.

Christmas Snowmen
by Herbie

One day a snowman said he would make an army so powerful it would be able to destroy Earth! He was banished from the city of the Yellow Snow. And what he said he made come true. 

Months passed in Antarctica. He left his new army in the cold to harden up. Before you knew it, he started a war!

Finlay - 12 years old - Year 7

This is Finlay's second year with me. Normally I stop teaching my students at Year 6 but since he had only just started with me and I knew we worked well together, I agreed to continue teaching him through Year 7.

When I first showed Finn this picture he threw two words at me that I’d never heard of and had absolutely no idea how to spell! The two words were: Kracken and Cthulhu. 

The former refers to the giant Kracken squid, and the latter is the sea creature God, Cthulhu, created by horror and fantasy writer H.P. Lovecraft. The latter is described as a composite of an "octopus, a dragon, and a human caricature". Thank you Finn for introducing me to these creatures!

Here is his writing - it started as an 8 minute session in the lesson and Finn continued it at home.

Creature from the deep - by Finlay age 12.

The tentacles of the beast wrapped around the building. Suddenly the building lifted up. I did not dare look behind me.

"Cthulhu" someone shouted, then all of a sudden people were jumping off. But why? Of course if you looked at Cthulhu you go crazy and die. Then he spread his wings blocking out the sun!

Suddenly with a great gush of wind he took off flying over the city that never slept. Then suddenly he landed next to The Statue of Liberty. He raised his arm and brought it crashing down. He roared out a war cry. With another great gush of wind  he took off with me still on the building. We flew over seas and cities until we arrived at a dry, desolate desert, he suddenly grabbed the building I was clutching onto. He raised the structure out of his tentacle beard, to the ground. I jumped off the building - it wasn’t very high. Then I started legging it away from the huge beast. We were nothing to it.

 I walked for days - no food no water - only the will to live and not to see the beast again. That thing that poisoned my mind. Distant memories that I had forced out of my head came rushing back. You see my job is to inspect different classified units of the government and one of them my mind had to suppress because it was so incomprehensible. The unit was designed to take care of Cthulhu quite a while ago. They had found out that Cthulhu actually existed, so they build a robot with a function to make sure the pilot would not be killed but would be able to defeat Cthulhu. But it was gonna be no easy task to find it. The facility was in the middle of a desert and if I was lucky enough that beast - no, no that monster - had dumped me in the right desert. I walked for days and days and days until I came to a solitary rock sticking out of the sand which gave me some shelter. I couldn’t  remember what the entrance to the facility looked like, then suddenly I saw a hatch which said on it 505. That was the unit that was dealing with Cthulhu. I opened the hatch and descended into the bunker.

 It looked like it had been deserted. I kept on going deeper and deeper until I found a locked door seal. I grabbed some of the high-tech weapons that were lying around and blasted through the door. On the other side I saw a massive robot and scientists all around. One of them looked at me and said, “how did you get in here?” Guards grabbed me and took me to the boss, who remembered me. His name was James Sleuth. 

 I told him how I survived the attack by not looking at Cthulhu. I told him I needed the robot to defeat the beast and he quickly agreed. I rapidly changed into a high-tech suit and I stepped into the robot casing. The roof of the bunker opened, sand falling on the massive robot as I took control. Then suddenly I saw the massive entity above me. I was all safely backed by my tech out so I used my jet packs to fly and tackle it from below. I brought it down. Cthulhu was obviously surprised. It had clearly never faced a foe like this before. Cthulhu adopted a fighting stance then gave off a full force tackle on the robot but I managed to hold my ground.

 I must have pulled out a plasma knife and stabbed it into the thing - he whined in pain as it ripped the weapon from its own flesh and threw it back at me. We fought and fought until he ripped my robot arm off. I wasn’t giving up. I drew my plasma gun and shot my last two rounds. I threw the empty gun at the beast then I grabbed my knife and charged in for my final attack. I wedged the knife deep in its skull and it fell to the ground dead. 

 I had killed Cthulhu. I shut down the robot. I wonder what will be next...?

The next story also by Finlay was written in about 10 minutes during the lesson. We spoke about trying to avoid repeating words that are close by or in the same sentence. He decided that 'explosives' could be an alternative for repeating the word 'bomb'; and 'icy beasts' could be an alternative for 'snowmen'.

The Sea of Snowmen - by Finlay

The low moans of the monsters was the only sound that filled my head. A failed experiment with the snow gave it consciousness. They mostly took the form of snowmen but they could create arms and legs at will. The only way to destroy was by smashing the ice shard in their bodies.

I was camped at the DIY shop. I was blocked in by the icy beasts. I managed to find the materials to make a bomb. I charged up to the roof with the explosives. There was a sea of snowmen. I threw the bomb into the horde. BOOM! They were gone . . . 

The Frozen Palace by Hattie age 8 - Year 4

Hattie has been coming to me since she was a 6 year old. Her skills have really developed and she is now working independently with confidence and style. The story below was written over two lessons with about ten minutes spent on each section. We spoke about speech marks and having a new line for each new speaker. We also addressed Hattie's tendency to write 'and then . . .' which many children do. She is a child full of enormous energy and creativity and she works fast. Hattie likes to get her ideas down first and then check her work afterwards. I'm the same!

The Frozen Palace Part 1

It was an early morning in a different dimension. There lived two boys and two girls. Their names were Rufus who was fifteen, Daisy who was seven, Olivia who was nine, and Isaac who was twelve. They were a happy group. Isaac had long, long hair; Rufus and Olivia had afros; and Daisy had stuck up hair like a fish. They lived in a big ice palace and they loved living there.

But then one day a villain came. Her name was Scarlett Overkill. She took watches from people’s pockets, money from banks, and froze anybody who made eye contact with her. 

Part 2

The children were walking in the palace gardens and then a big figure rose above them. It was Santa! 

“What are you doing here?” asked Daisy.

“We need your help,” said Santa.

“Why?” asked Isaac.

“Scarlett Overkill has been taking all the presents from the children,” said Santa.

But then Olivia said, “Don't worry we will help you Santa. Scarlett's Palace is just a hop, skip away.”

So they all agreed to help Santa and they went over to Scarlett's Palace. It was very gloomy. Then they saw Scarlett. They had a really, really big talk with her. 

Santa said, “Why are you taking all the presents from the people?”

“Because”, said Scarlett, “you gave me coal for the last six years Santa.”

“Ok, I will not give you more coal only at least if you give all the presents back to the children. “

So they agreed.

And Daisy, Rufus, Isaac and Olivia went back to the palace and they were very happy to return.



Created and written by Hilary Burt.

All rights reserved. No reproduction without permission.