We all know how important writing skills are, but with the introduction of technology children don’t have as many opportunities to write but they are vital! Some children pick it up without a problem and enjoy it; other children need some inspiration or support. In this blog we explore tried and tested ways to encourage a reluctant writer – and they work!
There is evidence to show that regular reading improves children’s writing skills. It provides them with a rich vocabulary which can then be used in their own writing. Try and read together with your child every day, from as young as you can; find texts they are interested in to engage their interest; this will develop their writing abilities.
Make it fun and engaging!
Inspire the child; make them want to write! If you provide materials that are engaging and interesting the child is much more likely to want to write. Go with their interests and use this as a hook.
- Make / buy themed paper – if your child loves Fireman Sam make some paper with a picture of Fireman Sam or Station Officer Steele on. It is amazing how simple yet effective this is. You might even find they will write about what they can see in the picture!
- Use plain paper and a stapler to make their own books – you might like to model this by making your own, but children love having their very own book. As an alternative you could make a book with some pictures in, so they child can write about the picture. This is helpful as some children find it difficult to think of their own ideas for writing.
- Purchase some fun pens – shops such as Poundland are great for this; interesting pens and pencils are usually a hit with children and will engage them much more than a standard pen or pencil. Let them choose which one they write with – it gives the child ownership.
- Sometimes children need a purpose for writing; they don’t choose to do it without good reason and purpose. There can be a number of reasons for this. Ask them to help you write the shopping list then take this to the shop with you – if they see you using their list this will give them a feeling of success
- Don’t use only pens and pencils! Think outside the box – children don’t have to write with just a pen or pencil. Put salt, glitter or shaving foam in a box and encourage them to make marks or write words depending on their stage of development. It’s all about engaging the child and having them want to do some writing!
- At Breen Educational Resources we make interactive and engaging resources which encourage writing in a different way using dry wipe pens, for example:
- ‘I am learning to control a pen‘ resource is great to encourage pencil control
- ‘I am learning to write my name‘ is a good starting point for those children just starting to write their name
- ‘I am learning to write words using phase 3 sounds‘ encourages children to apply their phonic sounds but in a manageable, interesting way
- ‘I am learning to write letters‘ supports children when learning to write letter sounds – often children are put off from writing because they find letter formation difficult, so this resource is ideal
- Ask the child to write birthday or Christmas cards to friends and family – again giving them a real purpose for writing which is likely to encourage them. If needed they could use a phase 2 or phase 3 sound mat so they know what the letter sounds look like. Again some children are reluctant to write because they care not confident with their phonic sounds.
- Use whiteboards and dry wipe pens – another different writing tool to aid engagement – Poundland sell super whiteboards for £1!
- Wallpaper shops often sell rolls cheaper and you can even get offcuts for free from some shops! Lay out a long strip of wallpaper on the floor with crayons or felt pens for the child to write on. Not being confined to a small piece of paper often encourages writing as they can go on and on!
- Use the paper vertical instead of horizontal – put it on the wall instead of the floor or table – just make sure you protect your wall! Not only does writing and mark making in this way strengthen muscles but it also develops their co-ordination and spatial awareness. Just as importantly it’s a LOT of fun!
- Tape paper underneath tables! Similarly to writing vertically against a wall, writing under tables has huge benefits for children. It develops their core strength, muscles and gross motor skills.
- Remember children who are left handed may need additional support with writing as some can find it tricky; there are a number of reasons for this, one being some of the letters are formed differently.
When it comes to encouraging reluctant writers, think outside the box and have fun with it! Children are much more likely to engage if the resources used are exciting!
If you have concerns about your child’s development it is important to speak to their class teacher about it. They might ask the nursery or school’s SENDCO (Special Educational Needs and Disability Co-Ordinator) to offer support.