How do I support my child with writing?
Children begin writing long before they start school. The scribbles and drawings they make are the foundations of writing. Writing is a part of our daily lives and and a fundamental aspect of Literacy in any language. Children learn to write by writing, the more they practise the better they become. They also learn through modelling, following structures and guides and through experimentation. While there are many ‘rules’ for how we write, we also need to learn to develop our own style and even to bend the rules in order to meet changing use of language and to cater to different audiences.
So how can you help your child develop their writing skills at home?
Here are some useful tips that you can put into action at home:
- Children need to understand that all writing has a purpose. In general teachers suggest there are three main purposes for writing: to ENTERTAIN; to INFORM; to PERSUADE. Once a purpose is identified, we can decide on a structure, form and style to use.
- Reading and writing go hand in hand – books provide a model of what writing looks like and sounds like. Read what your child has written or get them to read their own writing out loud. Find examples of ways to write in the books they are reading and use these as a starting point for their own writing.
- Talk to your child about the writing tasks they bring home from school. What is the purpose? Have we seen writing like this before? What features of this writing do we need to consider?
- Make it FUN! Play games that encourage developing spelling and writing skills.
- Encourage your child to keep a journal or diary. This not only helps develop writing but allows for reflection and development of ideas. Encourage all other types of writing too: shopping lists, emails, letters and postcards to friends and family members, posters to advertise a product, a story or comic book…the options are endless.
- Make a space for writing at home – a quiet corner, with a flat surface, comfortable chair and good light is all you need. Allow your child to personalise the space, if they love it, it will be a place they want to spend time. Include some writing guides, a dictionary and thesaurus, various items of stationery and anything else that can inspire them to get into writing.
- For younger children, try writing with different materials, such as, chalk, glitter pens, finger painting, or coloured pencils. Actually everyone will like this!
- Encourage writing but never demand it.
Lastly, but certainly not least, praise, praise, praise! Praise any and all writing. Don’t be overly critical or too concerned about spelling, or language mistakes especially with younger writers. We like to give ‘Two Stars & A Wish’, that is two things you did well and one thing to improve on. You can see example of this in all of our writing lessons in the Learn Primary App.
Gruff would love to read your child’s writing so why not get them to send it to him and he will send something right back! (firstname.lastname@example.org)