Five top tips to help your child with extended writing tasks

At school, students are expected to produce pieces of independent writing within a set time frame in many of their subjects.

Often, extended writing tasks are completed at the end of a teaching unit to test knowledge and understanding. In some subjects extended writing will be a daily expectation of the subject discipline.

Whilst many students flourish with extended writing tasks others may find this daunting or difficult.

Please find below 5 top tips to help your child with extended writing in both their homework and remote learning activities:

1.‘Talk it out’ – can they verbalise to you what they need to do? Verbalising the thought process can help students to make sense of their ideas!

2. ‘Unpack academic language’ – are there words or phrases they don’t understand in their reading materials or in a question that has been assigned? Do they need to use a dictionary/ online dictionary to support their understanding of the vocabulary used? (https://dictionary.cambridge.org).

Some academic language can be easier to make sense of when you talk about it – see the example below.

3. Graphic Organisers – planning how their writing will be structured can be really helpful in helping students to put their ideas together! Prior to any piece of writing, for any subject, do encourage your child to plan their ideas. Please see below two examples of graphic organisers that can be used for planning how a piece of writing will be structured.

4. Proofread – prior to submitting the extended writing response to their teacher, has the writing been checked through? This might include reading it aloud independently or to an adult/sibling; correcting spelling, grammar or punctuation or simply checking for clarity of communication. The overall aim of proof-reading is to ensure the points they have made can be understood by their reader. A helpful analogy to remember when your child is completing extended writing homework or remote learning tasks is: speak, write, think.

5. Success criteria – has the homework task or remote learning lesson been set with success criteria by the teacher? If so, make sure your child uses this when constructing their piece of writing. Success criteria can be helpful at all stages of writing in particular the planning stages (graphic organisers) and proof-reading stage.

Teacher of English | + posts

Mrs E Taylor-Hamblett teaches English at St Thomas More Catholic School. She is also Literacy Lead Across Curriculum.