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Tips to encourage your child’s writing

publication date: Nov 3, 2016

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The National Literacy Trust is warning that the decline in writing frequency and enjoyment could have a significant impact on children’s attainment, as their research revealed: 

  • Children who enjoy writing are seven times more likely to write above the level for their age, compared to those who do not enjoy writing at all (50.3 per cent vs 7.2 per cent)
  • Children who write outside of school are five times more likely to write above the level expected for their age, compared to those who never write outside the classroom (30.9 per cent vs 5.8 per cent) 

The charity is calling for a renewed focus on writing for enjoyment from both government and the education sector, to create a culture of a community of writers within schools. Plus here they give some top tips for parents to encourage their children to write.

Be patient Children who have their writing corrected too often or are asked to write things out "properly" can lose interest in doing it at all. Writing correctly is a skill that takes a few years to develop, and it’s important to encourage your child rather than over-correct them.

Be relaxed about spelling Spelling usually becomes more accurate as children learn to read, which takes time. If children become anxious about how to write down a word, they may develop a habit of only writing what they know they can spell – so try to avoid over-correcting their spelling too.

Provide lots of fun writing materials Provide lots of paper, crayons, felt tips and pencils for your child so they can write whenever the mood takes them. Providing materials in lots of different colours and styles can make children enjoy using them more. You can even get creative and use chalk on outdoor walls and pavements.

Lead by example Let your child see you writing and show them how you write. For example, if you write down a shopping list, show your child what’s on the list and explain what it’s for. This will help your child see the value of writing as an everyday skill. You can also write little notes and letters to your child and encourage them to reciprocate.

Praise your child’s writing Children who know that anything they write will be praised will write more often and will therefore get better at it. Make sure your child knows that you’re proud of their writing – you can even display it around the house.

Literacy Apps Learning to write doesn’t just have to mean putting pen to paper – there are lots of apps designed to get children writing. There is a curated list of apps for helping children with their writing on the National Literacy Trust’s Literacy Apps website. Remember that it’s important for you and your child to engage with any apps together, rather than leaving them to play on their own.