How can I help my child improve their writing?

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Photo of Holly (Teach Starter)
Updated | 3 min read

“I’m a parent looking to help my son brush up on his studies before he starts Year 3 in September, he is a little behind on his Year 2 work. I would like help explaining punctuation to him and silent letters. He lacks in confidence to put a sentence together.”


Children have so much to think about when writing – How do I spell this? Do I have a capital letter? Does my sentence make sense? Do I have a full stop? Does my story flow? Is my writing neat?

Writing

Within the first 5 minutes of writing they have no doubt second guessed themselves and their ideas 20+ times. It is important to focus on one thing at a time. If you are wanting to develop writing – tell your child not to worry so much about spelling and sentence structure but the ideas of the story.

Using a Story Board Template will help children get their ideas on paper. Drawing a picture and writing a simple sentence to explain what happens at the start of a story, what happens in the middle (the problem) and what happens at the end (how the problem is fixed) will encourage children to plan their story out before writing it. Encouraging children to write about their own interests also helps them get started – if they like dogs perhaps they can write a story about a dog or a procedure about how to wash a dog? If they likes fairies can they write a story about fairies in the garden?

If children get stuck you can use our story ideas resource. It is important to encourage children to talk about their writing as they go.

Image of Story Boarding Template

teaching resource

Story Boarding Template

A template for use when constructing story boards.

Teach Starter Publishing1 pageYears: F - 7
Image of Story Ideas Sentence Starter Pack

teaching resource

Story Ideas Sentence Starter Pack

Use this story ideas kit to help your students choose a topic to write about.

Teach Starter Publishing10 pagesYears: F - 7

Sentence Structure and Punctuation

If you want to focus on sentence structure and punctuation and making sure their sentences make sense, using sentence starters like the below resources are a good way to encourage some simple sentence writing:

Image of Super Sentence Starter Sack

teaching resource

Super Sentence Starter Sack

Choose a sentence starter from the Super Sentence Sack to start your students off and writing.

Teach Starter Publishing12 pagesYears: F - 2
Image of Narrative Sentence Starter Cards

teaching resource

Narrative Sentence Starter Cards

Thirty sentence starter cards for narratives.

Teach Starter Publishing10 pagesYears: 1 - 7

A little tip is to get your child to say the sentence in their head first then repeat it to you – record what they say on a recording device like your phone. Then, when they go to write their sentence, they will not need to remember the words. Instead, then can focus on the spelling and use of capital letters and full stops.

Our new punctuation worksheet pack is simple and easy for you to print out at home, and work through with your child. It covers full stops, exclamation marks, question marks, speech marks, apostrophes and commas.

Spelling

If you want to focus on spelling, in particular silent letters, we have a few resources that can help with this. The first is a silent letters worksheet pack that covers the main silent letter combinations seen in the English language. There is also a silent letters match up card game that is a fun way for children to rote learn the different combinations.

Image of Silent Letters Worksheet Pack

teaching resource

Silent Letters Worksheet Pack

A set of 6 worksheets to consolidate students' understanding of silent letters.

Teach Starter Publishing1 pageYears: 1 - 3
Image of Silent Letters Match-Up Activity

teaching resource

Silent Letters Match-Up Activity

A set of silent letters game cards.

Teach Starter Publishing12 pagesYears: 1 - 2

Another resource that may be useful is the sound families posters. You could do a number of things with these posters. Print them out and stick them on the fridge or in your child’s bedroom. Get your child to come up with other words that may sit in each of the sound families. Use big sticks of chalk and draw pictures of the different words on some concrete outside. Make it fun!

I know there is a lot of information here. I hope it has helped a little.

If you have a helpful idea or question, please do not hesitate to contact us in the comments below or via email at, [email protected]

The main point is that when it comes to writing, spelling, sentence structure and punctuation there is a lot for children to learn.

Focus on one thing at a time, and over time it will all come together.

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