Getting reluctant writers writing

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By Christine Jenkinseducation writer

Identify the parts that children find hardest about writing and use activities to help develop in these areas.

Child writing

My pictures

Many children find pictures and photos help get their imagination going. Ask them all to find an interesting picture for homework, and use one each day as a stimulus for quick writing ideas.

Give them a few minutes to jot down all the words that come into their head related to the day’s picture. Think about what text type might link to it– a derelict building for example could be the stimulus for a description, a setting for a story, a safety poster or a letter to the council about improving the local environment. Which of these text types would be easiest for them to write? Hardest? Why?

Try using each child’s picture as a prompt for writing one fantastic sentence (will it be factual? descriptive? emotive?).

The pictures can also be used as the starting point for a two minute talk given by each child – explaining why they chose it and what interests them about it. They can write notes for themselves, but emphasise that no-one will be reading what they write. The purpose of the writing is as a prompt for their talk.

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