Back at my computer an email arrived with details of the latest research from the National Literacy Trust, which showed that many boys rarely write outside of the classroom, and don’t view writing as a ‘fun’ thing to do.
My friend’s son is a smart, bright boy with an enquiring mind, and yet already, at the age of seven, he thinks he is ‘no good’ at writing. And it’s something I have seen a lot over the past few years, with my own son and others. They get to school, are plunged straight into ‘joined-up’ writing and expected to run before they can walk.
Move on a couple of years and the feeling that they are just ‘not good’ at writing lingers. I’ve seen even the brightest of boys struggle with writing – and let’s be honest, if you tried something new and were still finding it hard a year or two later, you’d probably give up wouldn’t you? I fear this is happening to many boys today.
Writing can be fun, but if you have struggled with it for years, and been kept in at break because you don’t finish your work quickly enough, where’s the incentive to keep trying?
There are some great ideas to help boys see writing as fun – we’ve got some on our site – I particularly like the idea of putting writing tools in a toolbelt for reception and year one kids – now that looks like fun!
And of course getting them to write about things they know abut and enjoy is another good idea. And the crux of the matter is that some kids (not all boys by any means) just aren’t ready for writing when school says they are. I know I’ve said it and I’ll say it again – in Scandinavian countries they don’t even start formal schooling until six – maybe we’re just trying to get kids on the grindstone too early.
Anyway, the good news is that the National Literacy Trust is keen to help parents and schools encourage boys to have fun writing. If you’re struggling to think up ways to get your young man writing without a lot of moaning and groaning (and possibly tantrums) take a look here and at our own ideas from educational consultant Bob Hopcraft.
And a perfect opportunity at this time of year is get them writing letters to santa – my small reluctant writer managed a whole sheet of A4 last night!
Image by http://www.anissat.com/