Happy National Writing Day!

Today is National Writing Day – a new initiative from First Story, a national literacy charity dedicated to changing lives through writing, the Old Possums’ Practical Trust (T.S Eliot’s Literary Estate) and Arts Council England.

National Writing Day aims to help children discover that creative writing can be fun and can also boost their attainment, confidence, aspiration and imagination.

New research shows that children who enjoy writing, and who write creatively, do significantly better at school: They are:

  • seven times more likely to write above the expected level for their age compared with children who don’t enjoy writing
  • more likely to write something in their spare time that isn’t for school on a daily basis
  • more confident writers
  • write a greater range of different formats in their free time at least once a month.

Just under half of the children surveyed said they don’t enjoy writing outside school because they can’t decide what to write and they struggle with spelling and grammar.

How can parents help their child develop a love of writing in their free time?

The National Literacy Trust has these tips:

  1. Be a writing role model and make writing more visible to your child at home. The more adults are seen to be writing, both for a purpose and because it’s something they’ve chosen to do, the more children will be encouraged to give it a go.
  2. Encourage your child to write about subjects they love, whether that is animals, superheroes, dancing or football.  Your child will write best if they write about topics that they know about or that are hobbies.
  3. Keep a box of writing tools and prompts for your child to use. Fill the box with pens, colouring pencils and notepads. You can also include interesting objects and ask your child to weave them into a story.
  4. It’s not just about fiction; many children may prefer writing other genres. Your child may prefer to draw a comic strip, write a report of a football match they have watched, or make up a recipe instead of writing a traditional story.
  5. If your child wants to write a story, laying it out visually can help. Work with your child to develop a ‘story map’ where you draw pictures of key elements of a story in a line and build a piece of writing from there.
  6. Why not suggest to your child that you make your own family book, newspaper or magazine? Theme it around a recent family trip, holiday or experience and get everyone in the family to contribute a short piece of writing.
  7. Be appreciative of the time and effort your child has put in to a piece of writing; if they are having fun and feel good about their work they will be more likely to persevere.
  8. Focus on the fact your child is being creative and writing rather than correcting their mistakes.
  9. Look out for children’s writing competitions – you can often find them on the National Literacy Trust’s website.

The National Literacy Trust has more top tips, advice and ideas for parents to get their child writing on their Word for Life website.

What are your tips to get kids writing for pleasure?