Poetry at The Story Room

By | Creative writing workshops North London, poetry events for children, Poetry for children N21, poetry workshops for children North London, Uncategorised | No Comments

When people ask us why a child should read, write or listen to poetry we always refer them to The University of Cambridge’s article… The Case for Children’s Poetry because it says it all!

If you don’t have time to read it – in a nutshell it says

‘Children’s responses to poetry are innate, instinctive, natural’

‘It enlarges the sympathies, helps us understand ourselves better, gives us the pleasure of vicarious experience and offers us insights about being human’

‘The poet and teacher, Charles Causley,  sums up neatly why children are a worthy audience for poetry : “For the child possesses by nature that valuable quality all adult artists seek to retain or regain: the ability of being able to view the world … as if for the first time … unblurred by time or experience or tact or expediency.” ‘

And we quote the Poetry Society too –

The Poetry Society says: Pupils who read and write poems become skilled in using language carefully…..The language skills they gain will benefit them in all areas of the curriculum and beyond.

In short, poetry is good for children in so many ways. It teaches them to look at language in another way and to find other ways to express their feelings and the world around them. Writing poetry with children is sheer pleasure. They never cease to amaze us with their ability to write poems that are always either beautiful, funny, honest and tragic (or a mixture of all of those things.)

Whether your child is taking their first steps in poetry or wants to improve their poetry skills… we believe The Story Room is a good place for them to be. We love poetry, read all sorts of poetry (there really are so many forms of the art) and have had poetry published and performed in public.

And the children love it! So why not try one of our poetry workshops…..


Thursday 26th October

Poetry Magic

There is always magic to be found in words and poetry, especially when the poems are written by children. In this workshop we will work with the children using poetry, music and the garden (weather permitting)  to inspire the poets within each of them.

Workshop run by… Helena

Time: 9.30am to 10.30am  (yrs 1-2)

10.30 to 12.30pm (yrs 3-4)   1.00pm to 3.15pm (yrs 5, 6 and 7)

Location:We are in the newly refurbished ….Friends House,  59 Church Hill, London N21 1LE

Fee: £15.00 for years 1 and 2 £25.00 for all other sessions.

There is a ten per cent discount for siblings who book onto the same workshop date.

Book Now



How to Improve a Child’s Creative Writing – Laying the Foundations

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This is from a blog written for www.succeed11-plusmocks.co.uk

Many children find the prospect of writing a story in strict exam conditions quite daunting. We believe that there is a lot of work that you can do with your child, from an early age, that will lay the foundations for them to be more confident writers. If a child is more confident about their writing, they will be less fearful when they reach the 11-plus stage and may even enjoy the creative writing exam piece!

  • Read with your child. Children love being read to. If you do not have time for anything else, reading is the key to developing your child’s writing (and comprehension) skills. You do not have to read whole books. You could simply choose an extract from a book to read together. You can then analyse the language and the literary devices that the author uses in the piece. This will help your child to understand what good writing is and in turn they will be able to apply what they have learnt to their writing.
  • Help your child develop an enthusiasm for writing. Look for local creative writing courses/workshops for children. Creative writing workshops are fun and educational. They teach your child to find inspiration when they believe that none can be found and promote a positive image of writing and reading. At workshops your child will write with their peers and have the opportunity to share their writing and listen to that of others.
  • Look for creative writing competitions your child can enter. Children love competitions and this will make them want to work on and submit their best piece of writing.
  • Go on trips that will inspire descriptive writing.  For example if you go to the park, point out the colours of the leaves, the way they sound underfoot, the way the sun shines on the pond… Then ask your child to write about their experience at home. Or you could go to a gallery and write stories about the paintings…
  • Keep a notebook of your child’s writing. Read back their stories to them. Discuss them. Children are very good at spotting where they have made mistakes or where they could improve a story .. and where they have written something great!

… but most of all praise their writing and teach them that writing is life skill that can and should be enjoyed!

Helena Steel

Founder of The Story Room



Book Review – Dead Man’s Cove

By | Book club N21, book clubs for children North London, Book group, Book Reviews | No Comments

Dead Man’s Cove by Lauren St. John

Reviewer: Brendan aged 9

Dead Man’s cove is about a girl called Laura Marlin who was adopted by her Uncle, Calvin Redfern. She is taken to a town in Cornwall called St Ives and finds things strange. She meets a boy called Tariq and tries to be friends with him. One day, Laura sees the housekeeper (who is really good at making cakes) looking through Calvin’s files and Laura starts to suspect something. Tariq gets kidnapped and so does Laura and they have to try and get out of Dead Man’s Cove, a cove where if they stay there too long they will sink and die. Can her heroic dog, Skye, save her?

I really like this book and would recommend it to people who like adventure.

Reviewer: Hugo aged 10

When orphaned Laura is sent to live with her Uncle, she is sure that a life of adventure awaits her, but wherever she goes she is confronted with strange mysteries. Is Tariq the shopkeeper’s son a friend or foe? Why does her uncle seem eager to erase his history? And why is everyone so frightened by Dead Man’s Cove?

My favourite  character is Laura Marlin for she is brave, smart and possesses all the characteristics a heroine needs.

I enjoyed the whole book as it was full of adventure, unexpected twists and it is action-packed. It is a must-read for all readers who enjoy mystery based novels.

‘An absorbing novel that will hold the imagination of young reader and keep them guessing throughout.’ The Bookseller.

‘With vivid descriptions and a page-turning plot this is the perfect children’s summer read.’ Waterstone’s Book Quarterly.


By | Creative writing workshops North London, story writing with children, The Story Room, Uncategorised, Winchmore Hill | No Comments

WOW! What wonderful stories and poems were entered into The Story Room Summer Competition 2017. Thank you to all who entered their wonderful writing. The standard of the writing was very high and it was not easy to choose the winners but after much discussion,  deliberation and re-reading we did… and DRUMROLL…. we are delighted to announce that the winners of The Story Room Summer Competition are….

IN THE 9-12 category

In 1st place

  • Cem (12) – Lost and Found written in our ‘Lost and Found’

In joint 2nd Place

  • An Nguyen (9) – A Treasure Box written in our Treasures workshop
  • Khalil Suddle (9) – Why, Why Would My job be the Death of Me? written in The Bigger Picture workshop

Our Runner-up

  • Dominic Kamel (10) – The Man in the Attic story written in our ‘Who’s There?‘ workshop

IN THE  5-8 category

In 1st place

  • Emma Simons (8) – In My Treasure Box written in our Treasures workshop

In 2nd place

  • Neil Puthur (7) –  Icyfya and the Greedy Pirate written in our  Building Characters workshop

Our Runner-up

  • Max Charalambous (5 )-  Chocolate Bar Story written in The English Rebellion workshop

ALL THE SUPER WINNING ENTRIES CAN BE READ BELOW! We hope you enjoy the writing as much as we did.


This is Eden – Cem aged 12

Natty comes from Nigeria; she is a second generation immigrant. Her parents moved to the Unitary State of Eden, in the cultural capital of Umsatri. Eden is a free, isolated nation with a population of about 90 million, situated along the coast of Bangladesh. The people are from ethnic groups from all over the world.

Natty’s Diary

My name is Natty. I live in Umsatri, in a small flat in the second district with my friend Dave. I have a job working for the local district council in the humanities department.

I work for my food package which I share with my friend Dane. We share everything and live under the moral code of ‘sharing with those less fortunate’. We have an ideology of mutual utopianism – we are not given money or have belongings for the two morals of Eden state that ‘money is the root of greed’ and ‘owning possessions is forbidden until rights are universal’

Laws can be manipulated by governments; Eden has no laws, only codes.

But I have broken a code. Before my mother left Nigeria she made a ring of beads, not telling my father.

She passed it onto me.

If the moral enforcers find out I am owning something, I will be in so much trouble.

I understand that clinging to possessions makes it easy for others to manipulate us- but I loved my mum and I don’t want to give up ‘my’ ring of beads….

It is hard to live in Eden.


An Nguyen aged 9 inspired by Norman Rockwell’s painting Grandpa’s Treasure Chest




Why, Why Would My job be the Death of Me?- Khalil aged 9

Once upon a twilight there lived a man. This man was a video game tester, his name was Criston. Criston lived on a tall hill called Parkway. He owned a tiny property that could only fit one room. Criston had made a games room. A tiny TV, a red couch and a game console was all he needed.

2666 The second Fire of London…

People fled in terror from the fire. But the man didn’t . He did live in London but when you live on a 60ft high hill you are not really caught by the fire. So, the man carried on his daily life.

Video game test

Chicken Takeaway

Video game test

Video game test

Video game test

He was just about to test another video game when…

“Ow!”cried Criston. “My back, my arms, my legs, my feet, my hands, what’s happening?” he shouted.

He was now trembling in great pain. He just about managed to call the ambulance and they rushed him to hospital.

The next day he found out that his eyes had been critically damaged, his fingers were fractured and the rest of his body was falling to bits. All the video gaming had done this to him. It didn’t help that the hospital had been on fire.

Later, when he had just managed to get home he lay on his couch and said his last words: ‘Why, why would my job be the death of me?”


The Man in the Attic – Dominic Kamel aged 10

I stepped into the empty, eerie room. The attic to my new house was stranger and emptier than I had expected. The floorboards creaked under my weight and a shattered mirror glistened in the moonlight, shining like every star in the dark sky. The arms of trees hit the cracked windows menacingly. The ominous, ice-cold breeze made every hair stand on end on my shivering, shaking arms. Rotten smelling wood was scattered across the old battered floor. Soft, silky cobwebs stroked my skin. Hearing a scrambling mouse scuttling out of the room gave me a big fright. The horrible stench of a rotten carcass of an animal filled my nostrils. I could taste old dust in my mouth clogging up my throat, making it harder to breathe. I heard an owl twooting in the distance.

Suddenly, I noticed an old man, with a pale white face. He wore a green and dusty lice-infested hat. Clothed in a suit (that was much smarter than he was) he gave me a deathly stare. Then, in a low grunt, he whispered “What do you want?”


In My Treasure Box…  Emma Simon aged 8

In my treasure box I will put:
One ridiculous rose
Two fragile fungi
Three priceless pigs
Four courageous coins
Five monstrous marbles
Six ancient apples
Seven awesome animal droppings
Eight borrowed butterflies
Nine dangerous daisies
Ten splendid slimes. 

And I’ll hide it  under a precious flower pot. 


Icyfya and the Greedy Pirate – Neil Puthur  aged 7

Once lived a robot called Icyfya. He had a gold coloured head which he could break open to make fake gold and had two wings (one red and one blue). The red shoots fire, the blue ice. His scales were very delicate.

One day he was on a cliff (with some riches) and as soon as he got there he kicked his head open for the riches.  His head turned into fake gold which landed with the riches hiding Icyfya’s body.

Along came a greedy pirate and soon he was about to touch the treasure. Icyfya shot fire into his face.

“OK, OK” said the pirate, “I won’t steal any more treasure, now can you let me go?”

“OK,” Icyfya replied. “But I’ll be watching you.”

And that is how Icyfya ensured that the pirate did not steal treasure.

The End.


Chocolate Bar Story  – Max Charalambous aged 5

One day we were going to have a picnic on Mars. I am a smartie!  I built a Double Decker Rocket Rocky Ride. I went to pick up my friend, then we went to Milky Way. I whispered to my friend,  “this is fun”. I boosted the rocket and it flew off and twirled around.

THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO ENTERED! We really enjoyed reading your stories.

See you all soon.



By | Creative writing workshops North London, story writing with children, The Story Room | No Comments

SUMMER WRITING COMPETITION! Each child attending our summer workshops will have the opportunity to submit their best piece of work (written in the workshops) to be entered into our Summer Writing Competition.

1st prize in each age category –  A free Story Room workshop and a £10.00 book voucher.

2nd prize in each age category – A £10.00 book voucher.

Runner-up in each age category  – Your story/poem published on The Story Room website.

All winning entries will be posted onto our website.


  1. Take a photo of your favourite piece of writing from this summer
  2. Send it as an attachment to helena@storyroom.co.uk
  3. THIS BIT IS REALLY IMPORTANT – please put a header on your email – COMPETITION (name and age of child).
  4. If you do not receive an acknowledgement of receipt within 48 hours – we have not received your child’s work.
  5. DEADLINE FOR ENTRY Wednesday 6th September

ALL WINNING ENTRIES WILL BE NOTIFIED BY Friday 15th September. Details of winning entries will be posted on www.storyroom.co.uk.