How to get your Child Writing!
Charlotte and I both taught as primary school teachers for over ten years, teaching from Reception all the way through to year 6, and additionally specialising in 11+ preparation. We have tutored for even longer, supporting children on a 1:1 basis as well as in small groups.
One of our main areas of educational support has undoubtedly focussed on finding ways to encourage, inspire and guide children with writing.
In this blogpost, we share the latest recommendations from the Education Endowment Foundation on improving literacy, as well as giving some practical ways on how you can encourage your child to write.
Preparing for Literacy (Early Years) – Education Endowment Foundation (published 16th August 2021)
Improving Literacy in Key Stage One – Education Endowment Foundation (published 4th September 2020)
Improving Literacy in Key Stage Two – Education Endowment Foundation (published 26th November 2021)
High quality interaction and communication with your child is vital for their language development. By this we mean talking with your child as opposed to talking to your child. Encourage your child to think and express themselves in their own way. Ask them open-ended questions; model effective language and explicitly extend your child’s vocabulary through conversations.
What can I do?
When out for a walk, have fun having conversations with your child which require your child to think, learn and express ourselves.
“What would happen if the sun started rising at night time?”
“How would you describe the sound of the wind? Is it whistling like a bird or howling like a wolf?”
“How do you think the clouds are feeling at the moment? What about the trees? Could you use the word ‘ominous’ to describe the clouds?”
Read! Right from an early age, develop your child’s phonological awareness and interest in sounds. Singing, rhyming and storytelling can begin from a young age and are essential in developing your child’s literacy skills. Read to your children but ask them questions along the way to ensure comprehension. Bring up the story at different times in the day to help them feel excited about the book.
Once your child is starting to read independently, encourage them to read regularly. Reading both fiction and non-fiction books, magazines, newspapers and comics etc is the first step to getting those creative juices flowing. Not only this, but it exposes children to new vocabulary, aids spellings and is the starting point to their writing journey.
What can I do?
- Find some wonderful books to read! Here is our ‘Recommended Reading List’ for primary school children and our ’11+ Reading List’.
- If books are overwhelming, try magazines. Here is our list of ‘Children’s Magazines’.
- Consider audio books as well. My own children listen to stories before going to sleep and it’s really helping to develop their language.
- If you need some advice about how to encourage your children to read, read our blogpost, Reading with Children
Writing can be both physically and intellectually demanding. There are so many components to being able to write confidently: handwriting; a solid grasp of phonics; spelling; punctuation; grammar; vocabulary and ideas to name but a few! Your child may have an educational learning need as well, such as dyslexia, which may add further challenges. Don’t focus on everything at once or your child may lose enthusiasm and confidence. Guide your child along the journey and provide them with a range of strategies to support them.
What can I do?
Our Creative Writing Skills book is ideal for all children wanting to improve their writing skills. Aimed at 7-14 year olds, this inspiring combination of teaching guide and activity workbook, in an easily accessible format, will help children produce compelling stories. It is perfect for children sitting entrance examinations, those who are home-schooled, and those who simply wish to improve their story writing.
What can I do?
- Head to Amazon to purchase ‘Creative Writing Skills’.
Bright Light Education Writing Courses
As recommended by the Education Endowment Foundation, “high quality targeted support” within a “small group” environment can really help to boost a child’s literacy skills. Our Creative Writing Courses have been created with the same philosophy in mind. Class sizes are kept to a maximum of 6 children and lessons are delivered by qualified teachers with extensive experience. Our courses teach children a wide-range of writing skills, including vocabulary, figurative language, sentence structure and much, much more! We pride ourselves on the fact that in our 2021 Annual Review, 100% of respondents stated they were “very satisfied” with the course their child attended! Lessons are fully interactive with constant student feedback given throughout the lesson and as homework.
Creative Writing Competition
Lastly, but perhaps most importantly 😉, once a year we run a Creative Writing Competition so what better way to encourage your child to write, than a bit of competition! The competition is open to 7-13 year olds. We have three entry groups:
Group 1: 7-9 year olds (Years 3 and 4)
Group 2: 9-11 year olds (Years 5 and 6)
Group 3: 11-13 year olds (Years 7 and 8)
Other useful blogposts
Other blogposts of ours which you might find useful include: