By Singapore Teaching Centre, British Council

09 March 2015 - 12:29

In the modern academic environment, it is crucial not to undermine the importance of writing skills for every student. To do well in school, students need to be able to answer exam questions in an unambiguous and comprehensible manner. They have to pen essays and present projects that use an effective choice of words. Often, scoring a distinction is credited to the ability to express knowledge in a written format well. 

Make writing a part of their daily lives. English assessment books serve their purpose, however, include other exercises that don’t feel like homework yet polish up their English language skills in an equally effective way.

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Make everyday lists

If your child is in lower primary, he will enjoy acting like a grown-up and helping to write shopping lists or a list of items to pack on your next trip.

How about writing a get-well card for grandma or an I-love-you note for daddy as well? Or creating signs for the different rooms in your flat? The list just goes on.

Keep a daily journal

Your child is off to a good start if he gets to write about his first day of school in the new notebook you have given him as a present.

On some days, you might find just one or two sentences accompanied by a drawing in his journal, yet on another day, you might find a full page detailing a feisty battle involving his favourite superhero.

Make it a point to read your child’s journal and ask questions regularly. Resist temptations to cross out and rewrite any misspellings. Paraphrase sentences by all means, but do so only verbally. 

Give feedback through ‘praise phrase’, in other words, a positive comment at the end of their journal entry. Your child will be curious and eager to find out what you have written.

To encourage your child to work independently, create a word wall which he can refer to whenever he is stumped in spelling a certain word. When your child keeps asking you, ‘How do I write this word?’, you know he has the ‘write’ attitude.

You will see his writing progressing year on year and by the time your child is in primary six, he will be comfortably writing away in his compositions.

Engage in word play

Once children get to upper primary, they would have the grammar ‘sense’ and be ready to learn much more. This is the stage when their vocabulary can expand by leaps and bounds. 

Go online and search for word games which offer a much more exciting variety than the traditional crosswords puzzles and Scrabble. 

Children can pick up new adjectives, search for synonyms or antonyms, solve word clues based on pictures, complete similes and idiom and unscramble sentences. This age group simply loves challenges and wants to take it to the next level.  

How about making up word games along the way? For example, introduce ‘Word of the Day’ and challenge them to create a goofy or gloomy sentence with it (the winner gets to pick the next word of the day!). Or get them to dabble in non-fiction works. Rewrite headlines in the newspapers or compile a ‘report’ on global warming which they have researched with the help of an encyclopaedia.

Learn more on our English courses and camps for kids and teens

Enjoyed this article? Also read our tips for Pre-school students and Secondary students.