Writing is undeniably an integral part of our lives. Not only is mastering English vital in academics (i.e. acing examinations), it is a crucial building block for critical thinking and effective communication. Several studies even suggest that language potentially shapes the way we perceive space and time.
However, helping children improve their writing can seem like a daunting task. Parents are often left wondering where or how to begin. The solution parents frequently arrive at is to send children to English writing tuition. How can parents help their children along?
3 Ways to Improve Primary School English Writing:
- Plot Planning – Helping Children Get Started
Often, the hardest part of writing is getting started. Even the most seasoned of writers can feel intimidated when faced with a blank page. Exploring multiple angles and plot ideas with young writers equips them with the necessary scaffolding to begin crafting a story of their own. A clear guiding structure also ensures children learn how to form a well-developed, coherent narrative.
- Expand Students’ Repertoire
What truly sets apart exceptional students from the rest of the crowd is their ability to buttress their writing with (appropriately applied) skills. These skills not only serve to impress the reader, but ideally demonstrate an understanding of the nuances of language and how to wield it to suit their story. Some of these skills include –
- Show-Not-Tell (SNT): Bring characters’ emotions and personalities to life by describing their actions or behaviour (“Do”), their appearance (“Look”), or what they “Say”. This helps students avoid one-dimensional descriptions in their narratives.
- 5 Senses (5S): Young writers can immerse the reader in the landscape of their story by describing the setting and characters vividly.
- Figurative Language: Inserting figurative language (such as metaphors, similes, hyperbole, personification, and so on) is one of the best ways to enhance students’ writing. Parents should expose children to a wide variety of impressive vocabulary and ensure they understand the context within which they are used.
- Varied Sentence Structure (VSS): Another effective way to improve Primary school English writing is to introduce VSS. Alternating the length and structure of sentences transforms the rhythm of the child’s writing. This makes for a smoother, less monotonous read.
Find out more of what Write Edge teaches here.
- Balancing Structure and Creativity
This is arguably one of, if not the most important thing to look out for when teaching Primary school English Writing. While it is necessary to furnish students with appropriate handgrips as they go along, it is equally crucial to leave space for creativity and flexibility. This is one of the guiding principles of the pedagogy at Write Edge. The objective is to equip students without stifling the unique messages they may wish to voice when putting pen (or pencil) to paper.
However, building language and writing skills is arguably an ongoing process rather than something taught solely within a weekly 1.5-hour enrichment class. Providing the space for students to hone their writing on a regular basis is key in helping them retain and apply knowledge. How else can parents consistently guide Primary school children in their writing?
3 Day-to-day Strategies:
- Reading Voraciously
Although a common prescription by experts, this age-old recommendation remains relevant. Reading a wide variety of material not only exposes children to new vocabulary, sentence structures, and ideas, they can observe the appropriate contexts in which these are used. Furthermore, reading non-fiction refines children’s understanding of various subjects and equips them with the words to describe the world around them.
- Writing for Leisure
Writing during down time, such as journaling or writing emails and letters, helps children develop the habit of penning down their thoughts in a coherent manner. This fosters children’s ability to reflect on their experiences and communicate them well. Notably, this also heightens children’s awareness of the various functions and audiences of writing and improves mastery of English as a medium of communication.
- Reviewing Their Work
The final strategy is to encourage children to read over their own work. By sitting down with them and reviewing their work together, children can learn how to identify and correct errors in their writing such as awkward expressions, grammatical errors or spelling errors.
Note: Avoid pointing out mistakes immediately. Rather, draw the child’s attention to the portion in question and have them read it aloud to identify the error.
We hope these practical tips can help strengthen students’ English writing. Importantly, the aim of assisting children in their writing journey is to equip them with the necessary skills for critical thinking and effective communication, rather than simply regurgitating impressive phrases or blindly following a template. Allowance must be made for creativity and expression; for children to discover the joy of weaving words into a tapestry and a story of their own.
Click here to find out more about the Creative Writing Programmes at Write Edge.