I’ve recently had a number of enquiries from parents who want to know how they can help their children to write better English.
Some children love reading but hate writing. Some children have great stories in their head but they don’t know how to write them down.
If someone has problems with spelling and grammar, writing might be something they don’t feel good about.
So, you have to make it fun. And effort has to be rewarded.
Here are ten fun activities you can do with your children to help them with their writing.
1. Tell Me About It
Someone who can’t write down what’s in their head may still have an important story to tell.
Instead of writing down the sentence, get your child to record it on a phone or some other recording device.
Then they can play the recording back and write it down. Encourage them – reward them for every word they write down – perhaps with a sticker or with points then when they acquire a certain number of points you can give them a treat.
2. Stop and Go
Some writers aren’t sure where their sentences should begin and end. Make up ‘Stop’ cards and ‘Go’ cards.
Make up a series of other word cards and lay them out face up in sentences that don’t have full stops or capital letters.
Get your young writer to insert a Go card where they think a sentence should begin and a Stop card where they think it should end and a full stop should be.
3. Noun gallery
Label pieces of furniture and items around the house and get kids to read them. Encourage them to write their own labels for things.
4. Action stations
This is for active kids who don’t like to sit for a long time and write.
Write verbs or action words on word cards. Turn them all face down.
The student then jumps on a card, and turn it over to see what it is. They have to then do that action.
5. My favourite stories
Read in a comfortable environment. Make it a fun experience.
You can extend this activity by taking a sentence from a favourite book and writing the words onto cards then asking the student to put the words in the same order as the sentence in the book. You could then encourage them to use some or all of the words to form a new sentence.
6. Synonym Scramble
On index cards, write down pairs of words that mean the same thing. Mix the cards around. Get your child to work out which words are pairs.
Time how long it takes. See if they can get quicker and quicker.
Keep making the words harder and harder as the student gets quicker and more confident with the words.
7. Parts of Speech
On your word cards, colour code words according to whether they are nouns (blue), verbs (green), adjectives (yellow).
Make sentences together, see how long you can make them. You could even time how long it takes you to make for example, a ten words sentence, and just keep playing till you get faster and faster.
Or you could set yourself targets that include for example, three verbs, three nouns and three adjectives.
Refer to the English Club website for more information about parts of speech.
The following table is from the English Club website.
8. Word Card Snap
If you google ‘word cards’ you’ll find all sorts of word cards that you can print onto card and cut out.
If you make two sets of word cards, with the same words on both, you can play Snap with them.
Start by placing all cards face down on a pile in the middle.
Start a second pile face up next to it.
Each player takes it in turn to turn up one of the face down cards and put it face up on the other pack. If it’s the same as the card that’s already down there, the player places their hand on that pack and calls out snap.
The first player to do this, wins all the cards underneath the one that they ‘snapped’.
9. Squishy Spelling – fun with play dough
Show your child a picture of a word and get them to write it using letters they have made out of play dough.
This is great for kids who aren’t confident with a pen or pencil, but love building or making things with their hands.
You can also do this activity, getting kids to write on a chalkboard or whiteboards.
10. Which Word is Witch
One of the most confusing things about the English language is that so many words can sound the same but be spelled differently and mean different things.
Word cards can be great for helping with this problem.
Make word cards but include a picture with them. Kids often remember things visually so a picture and will make it easier for them to remember the word.
Please also feel free to share this post with students, parents, adults who you think might find it helpful.