Using branching stories

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Branching story structures can be a great way to engage reluctant readers. The short blocks of text and rapid pacing provide a low access level to exciting and innovative stories. On top of that, they are also great for a variety of writing opportunities.

When I run workshops in schools, one of the most popular is my branching-narrative session. We use the idea of a diverging story to discuss and explore author-choice and the decisions the children make as writers. Once they understand that they are in control of every choice, and regularly make them in their writing even if they don’t realise it, it breaks down one of the biggest causes of the dreaded, “I don’t know what to write next”.

However, it doesn’t have to be solely narrative writing that benefits from a branching structure. Look through the (very short) examples below to see how they can be applied to non-fiction texts or to explore dialogue and journalistic writing. Both of these examples are great ways for children to demonstrate and embed what they have learned from a topic.

If you have any questions or ideas about this topic, get in touch. Don’t forget to email me if you’d like to learn more about my virtual or physical workshops. If you are interested in reading my own branching adventure, check out The Magic Knight sample and grab a signed copy from this very site!