Writing

At Kokopu School we use the Write That Essay program to teach writing from year 2-8. It is a system that teaches children the rules, structures and patterns of writing.
Click the link to view an explanation of each year level writing expectations and what area means.
Writing Overview Goals and Explanations for parents

The easiest way to support your child(ren)’s writing at home is by providing them with authentic situations for them to write. This could include writing shopping lists, emails or letters to friends and family or starting a diary to capture everyday life. Some of the most common questions we have are around spelling and children not wanting to write at home.

If your child(ren) is avoiding writing at home try to use materials and tools that support both their thinking process and the physical act of writing:

  • Use wide lined paper which help them line up and space their letters
  • Use a whiteboard, which allows them to easily erase and try again
  • Use a keyboard, which also allows children to easily edit

Login to your WTE Account

All year 4-8 students at Kokopu School have a Writers Toolbox login.
It is a great tool for practising what is learnt in class.

www.pobble365.com/

 Pobble 365 provides a daily interesting picture, writing prompt and philosophical questions to spark an idea for children’s writing. This is a great tool for keeping writing flowing during the school holidays.

https://storybird.com/

Storybird lets anyone make visual stories in seconds. Storybird curates artwork from illustrators and animators around the world and inspires writers of any age to turn those images into fresh stories.

Year 1

Make writing fun

  • Help your child write an alphabet letter, then go letter hunting in your house or in a book to find that letter
  • Let your child see you writing – you can use your first language
  • Encourage them to write shopping lists or make birthday cards
  • Water and a paintbrush on a dry path or a stick in the sand are fun ways to write letters and words.

Here’s a tip: don’t worry if your child’s letters or words are sometimes backwards or misspelt at this age. The important thing is that they have fun writing at home and are making an effort.

Give them reasons to write

  • Write to each other. Write notes to your child and leave them in interesting places, like their lunch box. Ask them to write a reply
  • Help them email, text or write to family, whānau or friends
  • Work with them to put labels on special things – like the door to their room or their toy box.

Here’s a tip: display their work. Put it on the fridge. Be proud of it. Share it with others.

Talk about their writing

  • Talk about the letters in your child’s name and where the name comes from.
  • Help them create a scrapbook with pictures. Encourage them to write stories under the pictures and talk to you about them.
  • Ask them to write about pictures they draw on paper or on the computer. Or get them to tell you the story and you write it under the picture.

Here’s a tip: talk about what your child writes. Be interested. If you don’t understand what your child’s picture or story is about, ask them to tell you about it.

Encourage writing

  • Have felt pens, pencils, crayons, and paper available
  • Put magnetic letters on the fridge and ask what words they can make with the letters.

Year 2

Make writing fun

  • Encourage your child to write whether it is on paper or on the computer. It is OK for you to help and share the writing. Give lots of praise
  • Enjoy the message and don’t make your child anxious about spelling or neatness
  • Make a photo book and get your child to write captions
  • Scrapbooks are fun, too. Old magazine or newspaper pictures about a favourite subject, dogs, your family, motorbikes or the latest toy craze, pasted on to blank pages with room for captions or stories, too
  • Play with words. Finding and discussing interesting new words can help increase the words your child uses when they write. Look up words in the dictionary or on the Internet or talk to family and whānau to find out more about the meaning and the whakapapa (origins) of the words.

Here’s a tip: talk a lot to your child while you are doing things together. Use the language that works best for you and your child.

Give them reasons to write

  • Write lists: ‘Things I need from the shop’, ‘Games to play when I am bored, ‘Things I want to do in the holidays’. The last one can be cut up and go into a box or bag for a lucky dip when the holidays finally arrive
  • Write out recipes or instructions for other people to follow (especially fun if the instructions are for an adult)
  • Keep a diary, especially if you are doing something different and exciting. Your child can draw the pictures or stick in photos. Their diary could be a web page on the computer
  • Write letters, cards, notes and emails to friends and family and the Tooth Fairy (you might write replies sometimes, too)
  • Cut out letters from old magazines and newspapers to make messages write secret messages for others to find in their lunch box or under their pillow.

Here’s a tip: display their work. Be proud of it. Put it on the fridge or share it with others.

Talk about their writing

  • Make up a different ending for a favourite story together and get them to write it down
  • Ask them to write about pictures they draw. Get them to tell you the story
  • Keep writing fun and use any excuse you can think of to encourage your child to write about anything, any time.

Here’s a tip: don’t worry if your child’s letters are sometimes backwards or words are misspelt at this age. The important thing is that they have fun writing at home and are making an effort.

Year 3

Writing for fun

  • Talk about interesting words with your child, especially ones that are fun to say, like “hippopotamus” or “ringaringa”. Short and simple games could involve finding how many little words can be found using the letters in the word ‘elephant’
  • Work together on the small word games found in the children’s section (or word section) of the newspaper
  • Make up a story or think of a pakiwaitara (legend) or traditional tale and act it out with costumes and music, write down the names of the characters or tīpuna (ancestors)
  • Make up a play with your child. You could help your child to write the play down. Use puppets they design and make themselves to give a performance to the family

Here’s a tip: keep writing fun and use any excuse to encourage your child to write about anything, any time.

Writing for a reason

  • Writing for a real purpose can help your child want to write. For example, writing invitations, typing emails or writing and posting small notes
  • Personalising notes by cutting, decorating, sticking or stamping are great skills for coordinating fingers and being creative. Postcards are a good size for a sentence or two and they are cheap to post, too
  • Encourage your child to write what they need to pack for a holiday, dictate your shopping list to them, or get them to write a list of jobs that need doing.

Here’s a tip: talk about what your child writes. Be interested. If you don’t understand what your child’s picture or story is about, ask them to explain.

Supporting your child’s writing

  • Talk to your child about what you are writing. Let them see you making lists, writing emails, filling in forms
  • Keep envelopes, banking slips, forms you don’t need so that your child can do their own ‘grown up’ writing
  • Display your child’s writing where others can admire and read it
  • Play with words. Find and discuss interesting new words (this can help increase the words your child uses when they write). Look words up in the dictionary or on the internet or talk to family and whānau members to learn the whakapapa (origins) of the words.

Here’s a tip: be a great role model. Show your child that you write for all sorts of reasons. Let them see you enjoying writing. You can use your first language – this helps your child’s learning, too.

Year 4

Write for fun

  • Writing about their heroes, sports events, tīpuna (ancestors), hobbies and interests helps your child to stay interested in what they are writing about
  • Help your child to leave messages in sand on the beach, send a message in a bottle, do code crackers, word puzzles, crosswords, word finds – these are all fun to do together
  • Make up a story or think of a pakiwaitara (legend) and act it out with costumes and music. Write down the names of the characters or tīpuna (ancestors)
  • If you or someone in your family has a computer, encourage your child to use it to write, email and publish or print for pleasure (emails, birthday cards, poems, jokes, letters, pictures with captions). Or you could use a computer at the library.

Here’s a tip: keep writing fun and use any excuse you can think of to encourage your child to write about anything, any time.

Talk about your child’s writing

  • Get your child to talk about their writing and share it
  • Cut out words and letters to make stories, codes, poems, puzzles and more…
  • Play word games together
  • Play with words. Thinking of interesting words and discussing new ones can help increase the words your child uses when they write – look words up in the dictionary or on the Internet or talk with family/whānau to find out more about where the words come from.

Here’s a tip: talk about what your child writes. Be interested. If you don’t understand what their story is about, ask them to tell you more about it. Use questions they will want to answer.

Write for a reason

  • Get your child to help write the shopping list, invitation lists for family events, menus for special dinners, thank-you cards when someone does something nice
  • Postcards are a good size for a sentence or two and they are cheap to post, too. Have a special place to keep your child’s writing at home (notice board, fridge, folder). You might frame a piece of writing and hang it up, too.

Here’s a tip: be a great role model. Show your child that you write for all sorts of reasons. Let them see you enjoying writing. Write to them sometimes, too. You can use your first language – this helps your child’s learning, too.

Year 5

Make writing fun

  • Help your child write about their heroes, sports events, tīpuna (ancestors), hobbies and interests. This helps them stay interested in what they are writing about
  • Play word games and do puzzles together to help your child learn more about words and spelling
  • Have interesting paper and pens available or help them make a special book to write in
  • Write to your child, or give them jokes, cartoons or short articles you think they’ll like to read from the newspaper
  • Play with words. Thinking of interesting words and discussing new ones can help increase the words your child uses when they write – look words up in the dictionary or on the Internet, or talk to family and whānau members to learn more about the background and the whakapapa (origins) of the words.

Here’s a tip: be a great role model. Show your child that you write for all sorts of reasons. Let them see you enjoy writing. You can use your first language – this helps your child’s learning, too.

Talk about your child’s writing

  • Talk about ideas and information they are going to write about. Talk about experiences, diagrams, graphs, pictures, photos and material that your child is planning to use for school work. Discussing the information and main ideas can help their planning for writing and their understanding, too
  • Share enjoyment of their writing. Read and talk about the writing that your child does. Give praise for things they have done well to support their learning.
  • Play with words. Thinking of interesting words and discussing new ones can help increase the words your child uses when they write
  • Share your own writing with your child – lists, planning for family events or an email. You can help them to see that you too use writing for different purposes.

Here’s a tip: keep writing fun and use any excuse you can think of to encourage your child to write about anything, anytime.

Write for a reason

  • Encourage your child to write emails, invitations, thank you letters, poems, stories or postcards to friends, family and whānau – make it fun.
  • Ask your child who they would like to write to. It is helpful if what they write is given or sent to others
  • Ask them to write a story to read to a younger sibling
  • A diary or journal – on paper or on a computer – can help your child to write about their experiences and their own feelings about things that have happened at school, at home, in the world, on the marae, at sports events and on TV.

Here’s a tip: talk about what your child writes. Be interested. If you don’t understand something they are writing about, ask them to explain.

Year 6

Make writing fun

  • Encourage your child to write about their heroes, tīpuna (ancestors), sports events, hobbies and interests to help keep them interested in what they are writing about
  • Play word games and do puzzles together. Games and puzzles such as crosswords, tongue twisters and word puzzles help build your child’s knowledge of words, spelling, thinking and planning skills
  • Start a blog about a family interest. Find a topic you’re both interested in and set up your own blog.

Here’s a tip: be a great role model. Show your child that you write for all sorts of reasons. Let them see you enjoying writing. Use your first language – this helps your child’s learning, too.

Write for a reason

Encourage your child to write:

  • Suggest your child is responsible for the weekly shopping list, equipment list for weekends away and holidays, task lists for the week
  • Encourage your child to write to others – emails, letters, texts, postcards. It will help if some of what your child writes about is for others
  • Short stories or a journal – on paper or on a computer – can help them to write about their experiences and their own feelings about things that have happened at school, in their family, on the marae, in the world, at sports events and on TV
  • Report on a new baby or pet addition to the family. This might be a slide show, scrapbook, page on the computer
  • Make an argument in writing for a special request – trip, event, present etc
  • Draw up written contracts for agreed jobs; eg Every day I will…(make my bed, do one lot of dishes, and when I complete the contract I can choose…).

Here’s a tip: keep writing fun and use any excuse you can think of to encourage your child to write about anything, anytime.

Talk about your child’s writing

  • Talk about ideas and information they are going to write about. Talk about experiences, diagrams, graphs, photos, treasures and taonga, waiata, pictures, whakapapa and material that your child is planning to use for school work. Discussing the information and main ideas can help their planning for writing and their understanding, too
  • Share enjoyment of their writing. Read and talk about the writing that your child does. Give praise for things they have done well and say what you liked and why – this all supports their learning
  • Play with words. Thinking of interesting words and discussing new ones can help increase the words your child uses when they write – look words up in the dictionary or on the Internet to find out more about what they mean. Talk to family and whānau members to learn more about the background and the whakapapa (origins) of the words
  • Share your own writing with your child – lists, planning for family events, song lyrics or letters and emails. You can help them to see that you too use writing for different purposes.

Here’s a tip: talk about what your child writes. Be interested. Use it as a way of starting conversations. Listen to their opinion, even if you don’t agree with it.

Year 7-8

Make writing fun

  • Encourage your child to listen for and use interesting words. Having a wide range of words will help your child create stories which will increase in complexity
  • Use technology. Text messages and emails are a form of writing even if the language is not always standard English
  • Use computers if your child isn’t keen on writing. They don’t have to think about the presentation of their work and editing does not require a complete re-write. Spell-check helps, too
  • Play card and board games and complete difficult crosswords and word puzzles
  • Create a message board such as a white board, blackboard or pin board.  The messages might be instructions, reminders, or praise for a job well done, as well as examples of work. Encourage your child and other family members to respond with messages, too.

Here’s a tip: make writing fun and use any excuse you can think of to encourage your child to write about anything, any time.

Talk about writing with your child

  • Talk with your child about their day. Talking helps them to organise their thinking and is an important first step for any writing
  • Talk about new words your child is not familiar with, using a dictionary to find out more – there are dictionaries online
  • Be a positive audience for your child. Always respond to the effort behind the message and the message content first (regardless of how the message is written) and the presentation second. Keep in mind what your child is currently learning to do and comment just on that
  • Keep a holiday journal. Before the holidays ask your child to write a list of possible activities they want to do that keep to your budget and get them to draw up an activity plan. Remember to include any events or activities you have to attend; e.g. school camp, noho marae, church, doctor, sports training, family/whānau reunion. Your child could write a list of what to pack.

Here’s a tip: talk about what your child writes. Be interested. Use it as a way of starting conversations. Listen to your child’s opinion, even if you don’t agree with it.

Keep them interested

  • Encourage your child to read. Reading and writing are linked and success in one is likely to lead to success in the other
  • Buy interesting stationery for your child to use. Coloured pens and pencils can be an incentive to write together with special paper or books. Give a diary, book or notebook as a present
  • Plan for them to be able to use a computer for writing – at home or the library
  • Look for real reasons for writing. Encourage your child to read and write letters, messages, postcards, invitations, lists, rosters, thank-you notes, recipes, emails. Start with postcards to family and friends – encourage your family to write back
  • Make lists for a particular reason; eg shopping lists or jobs to be completed
  • Encourage your child to write on their own – on paper or on the computer. Poems, songs, waiata, short stories or a diary or journal. A journal can be a way for your child to keep track of their thoughts, ideas or a particular interest. For example, keep a journal of their sports training, kapa haka practice or compile favourite recipes
  • It might be fun to write to a favourite author or kaumātua to ask what helps them to write their stories and compositions.

Here’s a tip: be a great role model. Show your child that you write for lots of reasons, eg replying to an email, writing a shopping list, invitation or letter, writing for your work or your own study. Use your first language – this helps your child’s learning, too.