I had the pleasure on Friday to spend time with the children in Primary 1-4 at Kilmartin as they wrote about their new 'Forces' topic in their Learning Stories jotters. While I observed and helped the children it struck me how complex the task of learning to write is with so many skills having to be brought together to produce ideas, carefully formed letters, correct spelling, sentences with capital letters and full stops and to ensure that it all makes sense.
It really is quite magical, especially for the Primary 1 children, as all of the hard work they have put in last term suddenly comes together in January and they can produce their own pieces of writing. They are quite rightly proud!
To then see the jump that children make in Primary 2 is quite amazing as they write several sentences with such confidence, working independently for the most part, just requiring help with a few spelling words here and there.
There are also so many pitfalls and barriers for the children to overcome. Some find it difficult to remember to leave enough space between their words, others lose their concentration and forget what they were going to write about, while others worry about being able to bring together all the skills needed and feel defeated before they even begin.
This is where the teacher's role is vital, encouraging, reassuring and providing helpful strategies that will ensure that by the end of the writing lesson everybody has a piece of writing that they are pleased with.
It was also lovely in Achahoish on Thursday at the open afternoon, to see all of the same skills on display, showing the huge amount of effort everybody, children and staff, are giving to the complicated business of writing.
There is no doubt that the more children practise writing, the easier it will become to bring together all the skills they need, but we should never forget how complex the task is that we are expecting them to perform.
How Can Parents Help At Home With Writing?
1. Provide lots of different pens, pencils and crayons
2. Make abvailable lots of different types of paper, post-it notes, postcards, notebooks, whiteboard etc
3. Provide opportunities to write through play - write a menu, play at 'post office,' write party invitations, write thank you cards, write to a relative, make up stories etc
4. Provide a place to write - kitchen table, bedroom desk...even on the floor!
5. Let your child see you writing and talk about why writing is important.
6. Write with your child at your computer/tablet
7. Look for apps that make spelling fun such as http://www.todaysparent.com/kids/technology/best-spelling-apps-for-kids/