Writing for Success

Writing for Success

This week is National Stationery Week in the UK and to celebrate we’ve been thinking about all things writing.

Creative writing and handwriting are both key skills that pupils develop during their time at primary school. However, they are sometimes under-valued, especially as writing on computers and tablets becomes the norm.

We’ve pulled together some of the benefits that these skills can help to develop. We’ve also added some ideas and resources to support you in engaging with your pupils. You can join in the conversation across social media this week, using the hashtag #writingmatters.

The Power of Creative writing

For some children, getting to use their imagination in the classroom feels more like fun than a chore. But the benefits of creative writing for children go much further than pure enjoyment. Whilst reading can help to improve writing skills, writing can improve cognitive development, organizational skills, and powers of persuasion.

According to Andrea Bergstein, the founder of Scribblitt.com which helps children to write, illustrate and publish their own stories, ‘Studies show that children who practice creative writing more often are generally better in other subjects too like math, science, and languages. Challenging themselves to come up with creative thoughts and problem solve, builds the confidence and discipline students need to succeed in all areas of life.’

The Benefits of Creative Writing

The benefits of creative writing are varied and far reaching. They include:

  • Self-Expression – creative writing gives pupils a safe space to explore their own feelings and emotions, helping them to develop their communication skills in this key area
  • Self-confidence – writing gives children the opportunity to be more assertive in both themselves, and in their opinions, helping to improve self-confidence
  • Creativity – Giving pupils time to be creative in the classroom and to use their imaginations, improves their ability to look for alternative solutions to problems
  • Communication skills – Planning and writing their own stories and poems helps pupils to develop the skills to communicate persuasively and confidently

Creative Writing Tips, Ideas and Resources

You can find tips and ideas for teaching creative writing in the classroom, the Guardian has a great article here.

We’ve come up with some fun ideas to help you engage your pupils with creative writing. Why not try some with your class?

  1. Ask your pupils to choose their favourite character from a book that you have recently read in class. They should then insert this character into another story. How would their character react differently to the original characters? How might they impact the narrative? Would the story end in the same way?
  2. Ask your pupils to create a character profile of themselves, they should think about their likes, dislikes, goals and possible weaknesses. What three words would they use to describe themselves? They should then write a story with themselves as the protagonist, making sure they use all of the information in their profile to create a well-rounded character.
  3. Give your class the first and last paragraphs of a story and ask them to create the narrative in-between. What information can they glean about the characters and the story from these two short sections? How do they develop the characters? How do they create a narrative that convincingly arrives at the pre-ordained conclusion?

On World Book Day, we created a story generator that helps pupils to think about building their characters and narrative. You can download this great classroom resource on the blog post here.

Handwriting and the Development of Cognitive Skills

Learning to write by hand, as opposed to using a computer or tablet, is an integral part of pupil development. It is crucially important for children to get to grips with this key skill at an early age. Research by National Pen, shows that the benefits of handwriting are far greater than using a keyboard.

Angela Webb, chair of the National Handwriting Association, said: “Handwriting also supports the development of cognitive skills such as reading, spelling and the securing of maths concepts. The physical connectivity with the pen seems to impact the brain in a way that using a keyboard does not.”

An infographic ‘Childhood: A voice through handwriting’ from National Pen showed that:

  • 60% of teachers said that they would be able to teach handwriting more effectively in school if they had more support from parents at home
  • Children in pre-school spend 37% of their day engaged in fine motor activities and only 10% of those activities involved paper and pencil tasks
  • Children in nursery spend nearly half their day engaged in fine motor activities, of which 42% was spent on paper and pencil tasks
  • Pupils in Y2 spend as much as 30-60% of their day participating in an activity that requires fine motor skills, of which 85% involved paper and pencil tasks
  • 28% of children aged 11 or under are not able to use joined-up handwriting to connect the letters of a word

The Benefits of Handwriting

Not only is handwriting important in development, it can actually help us to store information and develop ideas more easily. The benefits of handwriting vs. typing include:

  • Effective memory recall – handwriting activates the parts of your brain which are used for thinking and using memory which allows you to store and manage information
  • Sharpened critical thinking – handwriting allows you to think more thoroughly about the information you’re recording
  • Stronger conceptual understanding – Since handwriting takes longer, it makes it difficult to make notes verbatim, therefore you have to process the information and summarise it in a way that makes sense for you

Personalised stationery

What better way to encourage your pupils to enjoy practicing their handwriting that with their own personalised pencils?

Our pencils come in eleven colours, and you can add individual names or wording to each pencil. You can be sure that these fantastic pencils will be a hit with your class.

Reward Handwriting Success with Pen Licences

Pupils practice handwriting throughout primary school and at a certain point they graduate from writing in pencil to using pens. PTS has a wonderful range of products for rewarding and celebrating this important milestone.

Our Pen Licences come in a range of formats, including special CertifiCARDS, notebooks, badges, stampers and certificates.

Getting to Grips with Shakespeare

We recently created a blog to celebrate the Bard’s birthday. If you’re looking for fun ideas on how to engage KS2 level pupils with Shakespeare check out the article here.

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