With an increasing focus on decoding, barking at print and teaching English grammar as a closed, right or wrong system, teachers need to reclaim, and indeed are beginning to reclaim, the teaching of writing and put feelings, emotions and how to engage a reader at the centre of everything. Here are some tips to encourage worthwhile, engaging writing:
- Cover fewer genres with your children but cover them in greater depth
- Write for a purpose – the school newsletter, a blog about their favourite book etc
- Get rid of phrases like, “Brilliant, you’ve used a lot of wow words!”
- Dot on the spot and give feedback straight away – it shows their writing has value and is impac ng on you there and then. A great phrase is, “When I read this part, it is making me feel.. because…”
- Allow them time to edit and improve and play with words
- Read, read, read – from Xbox manuals to picture books
- Get your children to discuss their vocabulary choices and tell you what impact they were trying to have
- Get rid of pre-prepared Success Lists – let them choose how to engage their reader
- Model writing that inspires and triggers an emotional response to them
- Let them write with a child’s voice, as a child and for a child
- Read their work out loud and encourage them to listen to the music and rhythm of their writing.
Writing is about making connections, not just being able to circle an adverb. Let’s continue to encourage our children to use their words and writing to ‘build bridges of understanding’ with their readers.
@ieconsultancy English consultant and teacher – Essex, UK