What can parents do to improve children’s writing skills?
• Read your child’s exercise books with them and discuss the writing they have done.
• Encourage your child to check their written work carefully. It should be checked for accuracy and for use of interesting language and devices. A piece of written work is not finished until it has been proofread!
• The key to good writing is VARIETY: variety in punctuation, variety in sentence structure and variety in vocabulary.
• Encourage your child to use both a thesaurus and a dictionary. They will need both, especially if they use an online thesaurus as the new word might not make sense in the context they are using it.
• Be an audience for their writing, feeding back on the impact their writing has had on you.
• Take an interest in what they write in other subject areas at school.
• Share newspaper, magazine articles or web texts that are written in interesting or engaging ways and explore how they might use these ideas in their own writing.
• Spontaneous spelling tests are a good idea, especially on long car journeys!
• Encourage them to write to influence people through posting or emailing their reactions and ideas on current affairs and local issues, for example, emailing politicians, commenting or having their own blog, writing for a community, sports or other interest group newsletter or website.
• Encourage them to continue to write for pleasure in whatever form they enjoy and experiment further, for example, extend fiction writing to drafting a script for a play or film.
• Find opportunities to talk with authors or journalists about their craft through writers’ websites.
Write and publish critical reviews, for example, of films, video or computer games, sporting events.