reluctant writers can be a challenge in class. There are many reasons why students may be reluctant writers. However, in my opinion, these can be categorized into 4 main groups:
Over the next 4 blog posts we will cover all 4 categories and list a number of small tweaks you can make to your lessons in order to turn your reluctant writers into creative writers!
fear of Failure!
this reluctant writer is a perfectionist and/or a worrier. Do you know a child like this? Symptoms of child this might include...
this child needs to learn and understand that making mistakes and taking risks is the best way of improving writing and becoming a fantastic story teller and communicator. Here are a few lesson tweaks and approaches that can get their pencils creating!
1) whiteboards/tables/windows are perfect dry wipe surfaces. Most primary school tables are smooth enough to be written on with dry wipe markers. This gives children a perfect opportunity to write with confidence in that if they make a mistake they can instantly remove it and change it because it isn't permanent. Children can write a sentence at a time and then copy the competed sentence into their book.
2) 'uplevel' lessons are a brilliant way of helping children understand that mistakes are always made and can be corrected. These lessons follow a first draft lessons where children 'peer' and 'self' assess, use WAGOLLs and improve their writing by identifying their own and other errors. No author ever wrote a best selling story in one draft so why expect the children to write it perfect first time?
3) following this, sharing authors own trials, struggles and mistakes can be an interesting experience for children. It shows them that even the best had to be rejected, redraft and edit before reaching success. J.K. Rowlings is one story that can help the children realise this.
4) modelling writing can be a perfect way of demonstrating to children that teachers make mistakes too and it is ok to make errors. As a teacher, you know the mistakes that your children make most often, therefore you can 'accidentally' make the same mistakes and encourage the children to correct your own writing. This builds up self assessment skills so children can identify and correct their own errors.
5) collaborative writing in pairs and small groups is another way in which children can overcome the fear of failure. Just like going into haunted house and taking your friends with you for support, children can tackle the fear of getting things wrong and taking risks with a group of children together. Children are more willing to take risks when they know it won't just be them in the spotlight if they get it wrong.
If you have had any success stories with reluctant writers, please share your ideas via our Facebook or twitter pages!