How do we teach children how to write?
Children's writing journey begins in Preschool, where children experiment with mark-making, for example, when going on a 'Bear Hunt' a child might want to draw a map of the route, write a shopping list for the Bear or simply write down a few words to remember their journey such as: walk, stomp, swish etc... From these very early experiences of writing, skills begin to emerge such as holding a pencil correctly, recognising initial sounds to words, making patterns with pencils, pens, chalks and paintbrushes.
As children begin to understand that words are made up of sounds both long and short, they start to make links between the sounds they are hearing and the words they can see and subsequently write down. In EYFS and Year 1 the emphasis on Phonics to read unfamiliar words is the vital stepping stone to getting children confident to start writing words and simple sentences that make sense when read back. Writing starts to take on meaning which is an exciting stage to the writing development for children. Spelling rules are learnt to enable children to see similarities and differences in the construction of words and with this knowledge, children start to experiment with new, unfamiliar words thus building up their sight vocabulary. It is important at this early stage for emerging writers to first practise what they want to write before ideas are committed to paper by verbalising sentences to check they make sense.
As children move up the school, their experiences both in and out of school, feed into their writing as they begin to write stories about themselves, more complex non-fiction pieces and experiment with different genres.