Learning to write is one of the most important things that your child will do at primary school. Almost all other areas of the curriculum are assessed through writing, so strong writing is one of the keys to academic success. Good writing also gives your child a voice to share their ideas with the world.
The National Curriculum divides writing into two broad areas: transcription and comprehension. Transcription covers the technical aspects of writing: handwriting, spelling, grammar & punctuation, and so on. Composition is about sharing their ideas and thinking about the purpose for their writing. Learning to write can be a tricky business, because good writing involves balancing all these different parts. There’s a lot for a child to juggle.
Fortunately, learning to write is also a lot of fun, and there are all sorts of enjoyable ways you can help your child learn to love writing.
While children do learn new language and ideas from speaking and listening, the type of language we use in writing is often very different from that in speech. Reading regularly to your child, especially longer chapter books that they might not be able to yet read independently, is a great way to support their writing.
While your child will have some favourite books and types of book that they’ll want to listen to again and again, try to make sure they get to hear a range of different types of books, including fiction and non-fiction. This is useful for their writing because it models lots of language styles.
For books to read with your child, take a look at our free eBook library.
Making time to hear your child read isn’t just good for their reading. Seeing words in print helps them to understand the words, to spell them, and to see how grammar and punctuation are used to make meaning.
When you read, occasionally talk about why the author has decided to include something and how they written it. For example:
‘I wonder why the author has chosen to describe the castle as “gloomy”? I wonder what that tells us about what might happen there?’
Writing for a real purpose can be a great way to fit in some practice. Writing cards, shopping lists, or letters/emails to relatives can be motivating real life reasons for writing, and can show children how useful it is to be able to write well.
Your child might enjoy keeping a diary or writing short stories based on books they have read or toys they enjoy playing with. Be sure to encourage your child to write about what most interests them, as this is the best way to keep them enthusiastic.
Giving your child the opportunity to tell stories orally is a great way to get them used to structuring their ideas and using adventurous language. If they’re not sure where to start, see if they can retell a story that they already know well, like Little Red Riding Hood or Three Little Pigs.
If your child finds it useful to plan out their story first, try our free Story mountain to make a great plot with a beginning, middle, and end. For more practical tips on helping your child improve their storytelling confidence, watch this storytelling skills video with Suzy Ditchburn.
Learn how different authors write with these short videos...