Snip it out!

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By Edel Wignellchildren’s author and writer

A class collection of newspaper cuttings and amusing tales can provide children with plenty of inspiration for story writing. Author Edel Wignell tells you more

snip it out

Most newspapers include news snippets. My daily paper, The Age (published in Melbourne, Australia), prints a front page ‘Odd Spot’, outlining an incident. If it offers inspiration for some kind of writing, I add it to my Snippets File. In this article are several ways that I have used snippets in my 24 years of writing for both children and adults. You may like to try the same idea with your class. First, try using snippets for shared-writing activities so that the children get to grips with the idea; then encourage children to bring in their own snippets to create a Classroom Snippets File that can be used for independent writing activities. At first, the children will probably just expand on the snippet, giving it more descriptive details. Later, mature writers will use the snippet as a starting point to leap away into creative expression.


My stories usually start with a happening. I create appropriate characters, and a plot evolves with further events. That is why I regard newspaper snippets as good starting points for fiction. Below is a sample from my file.

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