Following on from an earlier blog, Rosie sets out the next stages of learning to write. Short, regular writing sessions are key!
Once your child can form letters confidently and independently, they can start to create words. Here are some tips for teaching word formation:
- Start with CVC (consonant, vowel, consonant) words; your child should be learning to read these words in their phonics lessons. Buy a set of letter cards or magnetic letters. Pick out a few of these letters (S,A,T,P,I,C are recommended) and support your child to rearrange them to spell CVC words (e.g. CAT, PAT, TIP). Once they have spelt the word, ask them to write it down using their letter formation skills.
- Write out a CVC word with a missing letter (.g. C_T). Give your child the word (ensuring that you articulate the word very clearly) and ask your child to write the missing letter in the gap (CAT).
- Move on to two missing letters (T_ _), and finally the whole word (_ _ _ ).
- Start to introduce CCVC words (e.g. trap) and CVCC words (e.g. hunt).
- As children progress in phonics, they will start to learn digraphs (two letters that make one sound, e.g. ‘ai’ in ‘train’ or ‘oa’ in ‘boat’). Help your child to practise writing words that contain these digraphs.
Once your child can write simple words, they can begin writing sentences. Listed below are some activities to support this:
- Give your child a scrambled sentence, with a capital letter and full stop included. Try to use sentences that include words and digraphs that they’ve learnt already. For example:
dog brown. was The
Ask your child to unscramble the sentence and write it down. Make sure they use finger spaces, a capital letter and a full stop:
The dog was brown.
- Move on to supporting your child to write their own sentence. Try giving your child a picture prompt with a sentence starter and ask them to copy and complete the sentence.
Example: Give your child a picture of fish and chips, with the sentence starter ‘I like to eat….’ Encourage them to use their phonics knowledge to spell the words ‘fish and chips’.
- Finally, your child can begin writing whole sentences independently. Give them a picture to write about, or ask them to write a response to a given question. As this stage, do not focus too much on spelling. Children should be encouraged to spell words using their phonics, but they do not need to be able to spell accurately. For example, ‘I went to the beech at nite’ uses correct phonetic spelling, even though the words are spelt incorrectly.
Top tip – a simple way of getting your child writing regularly is to create a daily diary. Encourage your child to write a sentence a day (or more if they are able) to describe what they’ve done. They could draw a picture to go with their sentence, or stick in a photograph. As your child grows, they will be able to look back on what they’ve done and see how much their writing has progressed.