Ways to develop children's literacy skills

Apr 2012
Developing children's literacy skills is dependent on the mastery of several areas in the English language. Children can build up their literacy skills in a number of ways, from practical hands-on activities to interactive PC games. Here are just a few ways to raise your child's confidence and competency in the subject.

Get children to emulate the style of their favourite author
By the time children reach the age of 6, they may have already started to develop a preference for a particular author or genre. Get children to 'Magpie' or borrow literary devices, vocabulary, plots and story structure ideas from the books they read on a regular basis. Children can then apply the information they have gleaned to their own extended pieces of writing.

Encourage children to write at every opportunity
If children are intimidated by longer pieces of writing, simply get them to tackle shorter pieces. Children can help you write the weekly shopping list or write thank-you letters to friends/family members that have given them birthday presents. If families take a holiday during school breaks, children can write postcards to loved ones using the same structures they use for letter writing.

Give children incentives for writing well
When children have tried to use a variety of techniques in their written work, you may want to reward them with a 'Best Writer' sticker or certificates. You could also give them the opportunity to type up their piece of work as this is something that they will really relish.

Encourage children to write in a journal
Writing in a journal or diary on a daily or weekly basis will ensure that children will have regular opportunities to improve their writing skills. Maybe try giving children 'free writing' books and, as their work is not assessed, children will feel they have the freedom to choose what they write about - this often leads to a more creative piece of writing.

Find a pen pal
Writing to a pen pal in their home country or abroad will help get children excited about their writing and encourage them to work on their basic skills in this area.