How to support your child with Writing



A lot needs to happen before your child can pick up a pen and write. They need to learn to coordinate hand and eye movements, strengthen their hands and fingers so they can grip and develop balance for pencil control to name but a few.


Writing tips for Nursery Children  


Give your child lots of two handed activities, like stirring and whisking, so that they can choose which will be their dominant hand for writing.

• Put lots of different sized containers in the bath for your child to fill and pour.

 • Give your child different things to cut and snip. They may find this difficult at first but you can help by holding the paper for them.

• Play simple card games like pairs and lotto where your child needs to pick up and turn over the cards.

 • Help your child use tweezers or tongs to pick up and move small objects from place to place, such as putting a raisin in each section of an ice cube tray.

 • Give your child empty plastic bottles for them to screw and unscrew the lids.

• Put hair gel, bath cream, corn flour and water or paint in a sealed, plastic bag and let your child make marks in it with their finger.

• To say thank you or happy birthday, encourage your child to draw a picture or make a card and sign their name.

• Point at the words when you are reading with your child.


Writing tips for Reception Children  


• Play throwing and catching games together.

• Let your child help you around the house, pegging out clothes (the family’s or their toy’s), using a dustpan and brush, washing up, wiping the table and squeezing out the sponge as they clean the windows.

• Cook together - let your child peel and chop, mash up food, put cake mixture into cases or spread butter on bread.

• Have lots of different materials to cut and stick so your child can make pictures, patterns and models.

• Build with blocks and interlocking blocks, like Lego, to make towers and buildings.

• Let your child cut out pictures from magazines, comics, catalogues and old cards.

• Make people, animals and other objects from play dough.


Writing tips for Year 1 and 2 children


Get a notepad for your child to write or draw in when you’re out and about.

• Make a fan with your child by folding paper into a concertina.

• Make maps of where you’re going or where you’ve been or treasure maps.

• Help your child to write the words to go with photos or pictures and make them into a book.

• Do jigsaws with your child (up to 30 pieces).

• Help your child make masks and hats so they can act out stories they know.

 • Write party invitations together or play cafes, your child can write the menu and write down what each person wants to eat.

• Show your child how to use tools such as screwdrivers and spanners.

 • Set up suitable computer games such as one from CBeebies, so that your child can learn to control a mouse.

Play ball games with your child, throwing and catching or use bats and balls.



Writing tips for Year 3 and 4 Children


 • Read to your child- 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.

•Have your child to read to you- 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?’

• Try some real-world writing- 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.

•Tell stories aloud- 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.


Writing tips for Year 5 and 6 children


• Have your child to read to you-Even though your child may be able to read independently now, making time to hear them read is great for their reading development. Also, by frequently seeing words in print, they will be able to see how different words (and the punctuation and grammar that join them) are used to share meaning. When you read, occasionally look at the punctuation and talk about what it is telling the reader to do. Show your child how a question mark tells you to raise your voice at the end of the sentence to indicate a question being asked.

Explore how you can show the ‘feeling’ behind an exclamation mark. Are the characters shouting? Has something unexpected happened? Has something gone wrong?

• Try some real-world writing- Writing at home can be a great way of practising writing, including using grammar and punctuation to create particular effects. Here are some ideas to encourage regular writing:

  • Create a story about a space adventurer with strange planetary systems to explore. Every week or month, your child could write about a new chapter about a different planet. Before long, the chapters will have built into a book they can be really proud of.
  • Write an A-to-Z. It could be based on anything your child is interested in – animals, space, dinosaurs, fairies, even their favourite TV programme. A page for each letter of the alphabet gives you 26 short pieces of writing spread over the year that build into one big project.
  • Produce a version of a book for a younger child. For example, they could write The Rhino Who Came to Tea or The Very Hungry Angler Fish. Books with a distinctive format such as The Day the Crayons Quit or The Last Polar Bears are perfect for this.
  • Write the book of a film or TV programme. If children have watched something they’ve really enjoyed, they could try and tell the same story in writing. Watching the story on screen can give them a useful frame to hang their own writing on.
  • While writing using a pen and pencil is useful practice, writing on the computer counts too. You might want to turn the spelling and grammar check off to help children to learn to confidently use their own knowledge. The grammar check can be wrong, too, so this can be confusing for children.

•Tell stories aloud- 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.

• Find story inspiration-You can find fun story ideas anywhere! Why not raid your kitchen cupboards or hunt through the attic to find lost treasures? Anything from an old hat to a telescope will do the trick. What could the object be used for? Who might be looking for it? What secrets could it hold? Suggest different genres such as mystery or science fiction and discuss how the item might be used in this kind of story.

• Real-world facts can also be a great source of inspiration. For example, did you know a jumping flea can accelerate faster than a space rocket taking off into orbit? What crazy story can your child make out of this fact? Newspapers and news websites can be great for finding these sorts of ideas.

•Draw your ideas first-If your child isn’t sure where to start with a story or even a piece of non-fiction, it can sometimes be helpful to sketch out their ideas first. For instance, can they draw a picture of a dastardly villain or a brave hero? How about a scary woodland or an enchanted castle?

Your child might also find it useful to draw maps or diagrams. What are all the different areas of their fantasy landscape called? How is the baddie’s base organised?

Some children might enjoy taking this idea a step further and drawing their own comics. This is great practice – it stretches your child’s creativity, gets them thinking about plot, character, and dialogue, and is a big confidence boost once they’ve finished and have an amazing story to look back on.