To be able to write effectively, children need an understanding of how to plan effectively; how to use language to best effect; compose a range of sentences; organise their writing and to write for specific audiences. However, children also need other basic skills: an understanding of grammar, be able to spell accurately and to able to present their work with clear, legible handwriting.
Resources to support writing:
Resources to support grammar:
Grammar is an important part of the curriculum. Having a good understanding will support your child when they write. Year 6 children are also tested on their understanding of grammar and punctuation as part of the SATs tests.
Resources to support spelling:
There are many different strategies that can be used to support more accurate spellings. Different strategies (detailed in the first document) may suit your child more than others, but a combination of several will probably be the most successful.
Homophones, which are confusing in their spellings, are words that sound the same, but are spelt differently.
Mnemonics and memory reminders, if which there are many, use rhymes, words within words and links to help all of us remember how to spell words that we find challenging.
Prefixes and suffixes are added to the start (prefix) and ends (suffix) of a word (root word). If children understand their meaning and the spelling, it helps them to build words, so that they are spelt correctly, as well as to help comprehension of unfamiliar vocabulary.
Support for handwriting:
Handwriting is an important part of writing at junior school because:
- Well-presented work develops the self-esteem of children and encourages them to take pride in their work. When children’s handwriting improves, the quality of the writing often does too.
- To maintain legibility in joined handwriting when writing at speed is one of the assessment criteria for children to be working at age related expectations at the end of year 6.
- Studies have shown that there is a direct link between learning cursive writing and developing reading skills. Studies show that handwriting contributes to reading fluency because it activates the visual perception of letters.
When your child is writing, they need to be sitting at a table, ideally is at the natural height of the elbow and does not result in the child’s shoulders hunching up when working. The chair should allow the hips, knees and ankles to be at approximately 90°. If the table is too high, use a firm cushion that places the child at the correct height. Then, place a small foot stool, foot block, or even an old telephone directly below their feet to ensure a stable position.
At South Green Junior School, pupils write using tram lines in all subjects until they are proficient in writing with a joined legible script. They then move onto writing in normal lined books.
Pencils and pens
Pupils use a pencil to write with in years 3 and 4, until they are ready to move onto writing with pen. In years 5 and 6, all children write with a pen. We would encourage children at home to write with a sharp pencil, which is long enough to be held properly.
When writing using a pen, we would recommend a quality rollerball such as, a Manuscript handwriting pen, Uni-Ball Eye rollerball pens or a Berol handwriting pen.
A Stabilo handwriting pen can be used for children who need support in establishing a good pen grip (requires ink refills) or alternatively use a pen grip.