Read simple stories eg Rosie's Walk and retell, with lots of good language - words such as 'suddenly', 'the sneaky creepy fox', etc, lots of repetition. Draw pictures of the characters, maps of the story. Act the story with puppets, draw a strip cartoon. Retell the story with different characters; Blossom the rabbit and the big bad wolf, perhaps. Lots of talking, no pressure about writing. Read, tell, watch all the traditional stories and fairy tales, to give her a library of stories in her head. Then get her the 'Mixed Up Fairy Tales' book and use it to make her own funny versions (won't work until she is familiar with the real ones). Make books together.
Colditz is absolutely right; she is only six. The problem today is that the Ofsteds, levels etc frighten parents to death. Stop worrying (there's plenty of time for that as they approach GCSE's) and let them develop naturally. That way they are much more likely to succeed in the long run. Having said that, one technique you can try without applying undue pressure is to record a story she wants to tell with a sound recorder of some description (mobile phone?) and then play it back for her to write down. If this works, she will probably end up with a long story which will need to be shortened and you can have turns writing it, so 80% of it is written by you and 20% by her.
I'm a TA, at our school, activities they suggest for writing at home tend to be things like write a holiday diary, write about a trip you went on at the weekend, book reviews, film reviews etc. Even getting them to write your shopping list!
In school, we focus on things like describing a character, then describing a setting, usually starting with a familiar character first, eg the Gruffalo, a firefighter, red riding hood etc. Once they have done that, then they might go on to describe and draw their own made up character, before eventually planning out a story for their character.
Another activity we do is imagining they are the character in a familiar story and writing a letter/diary entry about what happened. Eg Goldilocks: "Dear diary, today I went for a walk in the woods when I saw a pretty little cottage with the door open. There was nobody there, so I walked in and saw three delicious steaming bowls of porridge..."
To be honest I wouldn't try to direct her writing at home too much, they do plenty of that at school. Just get her some pretty notebooks and let her write about whatever she likes!
The Usborne Write Your Own Story Book is good, although aimed at KS2 age kids I think. I have it stashed away for DD in a year or two. The first activity in it is:
Once upon a time there was a (describe your main character here) Who lived in/went to (describe your setting here) One day (something happened to get the story started) And so (what does your character do next and what does he or she hope might happen as a result) However (something goes wrong) Then (how does your character try to solve the problem) Eventually (does your character succeed) In the end (bring your story to a close here)
I think that's a pretty good starting point, the book also has suggestions for main characters, things that happen in the story, etc etc.
The other thing I use with DD is story cubes or here. They're good for giving a story some structure, and something concrete to think about - it started out as a story about a rocket, but now there's a frog in it...etc.
My DS seems to be doing things like book reviews, which gives them a structure to work towards, rather than being open-ended. I say he seems to be doing them - he's come home and instructed me I have to do one for my homework too!
He is starting to write a story but hasn't got past the first paragraph. Would she find it easier if she was writing a story about her favourite book or TV characters? Where some of the plot elements are already defined for her?
6 is very young so I think this is completely normal. Can she tell you stories orally, but then forgets before she writes them down? my DS was still having problems with that when he was 8, so the school taught him to do mind-maps to help him remember how the story went when he was writing it down.
If she's reading well then the writing will come. Don't stress about it, and especially don't let her sense that you're stressing about it - you'll create an issue where there doesn't have to be one. Children develop at massively different rates and are motivated by things in different ways.
Do you home-school? Or is this in addition to the writing she does at school?
From what I have seen with my DD up till about 7 it is not uncommon to need to give them the first couple of sentances of the story so they have somewhere to start. But as colditz says the more she reads the more ideas she will get. Comprehension does help them to learn how to construct a story so it is useful. But also found DD needed to understand about adjectives etc though I called them describing words. I know at school the actually started with writing the synposis/blurb for a book they had read so nice and short.
My daughter is six and she is really good at maths - I have no problem her doing nay kind of maths at her age. The problem I have is with English - I mean, just how do you teach English?! Obviously she can write and read books (oh the number of books she reads!!) but the problem is that whenever she wants to write her brain just....stops....thinking just ends and she has no idea what to put down on paper when I ask her to write a story....I help her in trying to figuring out an introduction, middle and end - plus, I explain what she can use but I am really struggling and thinking what I can do to help her...
I have a couple of books but they seem to just have various questions for her to fill in the blanks....any books you can recommend?