Writing is a vital means of communication. Everyday life provides many opportunities to practise this important skill.
Tips for helping your child to enjoy writing:
· Shopping lists
· Thank you letters
· Greetings cards
· Stories and poems
· Spelling practice
What should my child be able to do at each level?
||How you can help
||Pupils’ writing communicates meaning through simple words and phrases. In their reading or their writing, pupils begin to show awareness of how full stops are used. Letters are usually clearly shaped and correctly orientated.
||Encourage your children to write stories about their experiences, even if it makes no sense. Encouraging emergent writing is an important step towards ‘proper’ writing. Don’t discourage your child by trying to correct all their mistakes. Ask them to read back their writing to you. Prior to level 1, you can ask them to tell you what they want to write and write it for them, then ask them to copy it. Give plenty of praise.
||Pupils’ writing communicates meaning in both narrative and non-narrative forms, using appropriate and interesting vocabulary, and showing some awareness of the reader. Ideas are developed in a sequence of sentences, sometimes demarcated by capital letters and full stops. Simple, monosyllabic words are usually spelt correctly, and where there are inaccuracies the alternative is phonetically plausible. In handwriting, letters are accurately formed and consistent in size.
||If they have younger siblings, ask your child if they can write a story for them. Ask them to think about what 3, 4 and 5 year olds might like. If you have a fun day out, ask your child to write a brief summary for a grandparent or other relative but don’t make it a chore. When you listen to them read back to you what they have written, ask if they can think of any more interesting or “wow” words to replace one or two of the mundane ones. Don’t attempt to correct every spelling error but concentrate on asking them about a few misspelt words of 1 or 2 syllables that you think they should know. Praise your child for what they have done well.
||Pupils’ writing is often organised, imaginative and clear. The main features of different forms of texts are used appropriately, beginning to be adapted to different readers. Sequences of sentences extend ideas logically and words are chosen for variety and interest. The basic grammatical structure of sentences is usually correct. Spelling is usually accurate, including that of common, polysyllabic words. Punctuation to mark sentences – full stops, capital letters and question marks – is used accurately. Handwriting is joined and legible.
||Discuss different types of writing with your child; fiction of various types, text books, newspapers and magazines, poetry, play scripts. Encourage the use of a wider vocabulary both orally and in their writing. Good writers tend to be avid readers so continue to provide your child with a wide range of fiction and non-fiction. Ask them to write a brief review of books they have read; perhaps these could be gathered together as a booklet. Allow them to write using a word processor. Ask them to read back what they have written and edit and improve it.
||Pupils’ writing in a range of forms is lively and thoughtful. Ideas are often sustained and developed in interesting ways, with organisation generally appropriate for purpose. Vocabulary choices are often adventurous and words are used for effect. Pupils are beginning to use grammatically complex sentences, extending meaning. Spelling, including that of polysyllabic words that conform to regular patterns, is generally accurate. Full stops, capital letters and question marks are used correctly, and pupils are beginning to use punctuation within sentences. Handwriting style is fluent, joined and legible.
||Continue with the activities suggested for level 3 but demand a higher standard of spelling and punctuation and the use of a wider vocabulary. Encourage children to write at home if they are happy to do so but don’t force them and make it something that is a chore; this could make them even more reluctant writers. Ask them to tell you about what they have been writing at school. Probe beyond the standard “nothing much,” response. Use the school homework sheet to ensure they do their homework and ask them to read to you what they have written. Continue to encourage and praise good work. Also encourage re-reading and editing.