While DoodleEnglish and DoodleSpell can be used during home learning to practise specific skills, we also recommend that children read and do a couple of writing activities daily. But what should children be writing?
Below we have broken down the national curriculum by year group so you can see what sort of writing tasks your child would typically be doing in school, and how you can implement these into your home learning with the least amount of stress!
Your child’s school will probably have a literacy curriculum map or a writing policy on their website: before getting started, you can use this to check what your child would be doing in school normally.
First of all, it’s necessary to mention spoken language. In school, your child’s teacher will start most written tasks by talking about it and sharing key language. This usually forms a working wall in the classroom, but you could also use an A4 page where you could record some key vocabulary. You may also want to encourage your child to participate in some drama before asking them to write anything.
Focus on: Handwriting and organising ideas in writing (using finger spaces, capital letters and full stops).
When writing, ask your child to say their sentence out loud. They should then write it down, repeating their sentence as necessary. After that, read their sentence out loud and check it. Have they used a capital letter, finger spaces and a full stop? If your child is apt to forget these, create a little reminder card that they can keep with them while writing.
Activities to try:
- Say short simple sentences out loud and ask your child to write it down.
- Keep a diary of what they are doing each day.
- Write a letter to friends or family.
Focus on: Spelling (including sounding words out using phonics knowledge), proof-reading their own work and increasing vocabulary.
In Year 2, children should use their phonics knowledge to sound out words, even if this means they aren’t always correct. It’s still important to encourage children to say their sentence out loud before writing – say it, write it, read it, check it.
Activities to try:
- If your child has a favourite character, ask them to write a letter pretending to be that character. If they love superheroes, why not write a letter as the Hulk explaining why you smashed up a city!
- Ask your child to act out a dramatic scene (use props and siblings as necessary!) and then write about it.
- Read or listen to some poetry (we love the Children’s Poetry Archive) and then have a go at writing your own poem.
Year 3 and 4
Focus on: Accurate grammar and punctuation, using paragraphs accurately how writing can be different from speech and how the tone changes depending on the style of writing.
When you are reading with your child, look at themes that appear in books: good usually defeats bad; setting the scene, the action and the resolution, how writing styles differ. You could also take a look at the different forms writing appears in, such as cookbooks, diaries, non-fiction books and formal letters.
Activities to try:
- Writing out instructions. Show your child how to do something, such as planting seeds in the garden or making a sandwich and then ask them to write accurate instructions on how to do it, using the imperative (look at the Exact Instructions Challenge by Josh Darnit on YouTube for some inspiration on how to wind your child up with this!).
- Write a story which has a beginning, middle and end. Use descriptions of the characters and the places – search for ‘story mountain template’ to help with the planning stage.
- Research your favourite subject and create a non-fiction brochure about it, using headings, subheadings and an appropriate writing style.
- If your child wants something, ask them to write a formal letter to you, persuading you why they should be allowed it.
- Write a script. Bonus points if they have siblings they can persuade to perform it with them afterwards!
Year 5 and 6
Focus on: Accurate spelling, grammar and punctuation, understand who the audience for their writing is and adapt accordingly, varying sentence structures and showing a wide range of punctuation and vocabulary.
For a child who is in Year 5 or 6, it is really important that they are being exposed to a broad variety of types of writing, including books that they may not typically choose themselves. This includes diaries, non-fiction texts, fiction, newspaper reports, formal and informal letters and poetry. Ask your child’s teacher for a checklist of what your child should be including in their writing.
Activities to try:
- Show your child a mysterious photo that they haven’t seen before, or a video with no sound. Ask them to write a description of, or a short story about, the prompt you have just shown them. Try Once Upon a Picture for some ideas.
- Write a diary entry in character: if your child is learning about a historical period in time, can they write as though they were living in that time?
- Younger siblings learning about volcanoes in Geography, Jane Goodall in science or pointillism in art? Can your Year5/6 write a leaflet or brochure in the style of the Horrible Histories books informing their sibling about that topic, ensuring the language and content is appropriate?
- Write letters on causes they are passionate about. Perhaps they could write a letter to a chocolate company telling them why they feel NHS staff should all be given a free Easter egg each, using persuasive language and research-based facts.
- If you have the time, do a scientific experiment with your children, or support them to do their own and then ask them to write up their findings.
Built to support your home learning, DoodleEnglish gradually introduces new concepts while revising trickier topics, making it a fantastic way to progress through the curriculum.