Resources for Helping Children With Written Work
You can download and print the resources at the end of this post
Language underpins all written work, and if you can’t say what you want to write, you can’t put it down on paper. In a busy classroom, the oral planning stage tends be rushed, as the main focus is often on producing a piece of writing. For many children with speech and language difficulties, this can be disastrous. They can find written work very hard and may have difficulties with the following:
- Thinking of ideas of what to say, e.g. who the story could be about, where it might take place, what happens and how it ends
- Organising language into paragraphs, e.g. beginning, middle and end
- Linking ideas together, e.g. using connectives
- Using grammatical structures, e.g. prepositions, verb tenses
- Using vocabulary, e.g. wow words, topic related words
- Sequencing ideas
- Planning what they want to say
- Difficulties with spelling
What can help?
- Visual support, e.g. pictures to help plan what to say.
- Frames, such as sentence frames or writing skeletons (see examples below). The child can use these, with support, to plan a piece of written work orally. They can write on key vocabulary and grammatical structures that will help when they come to write it.
- Opportunities to say out loud what is going to be written, e.g. orally plan it.
- Opportunities to re-tell information that will be written up eventually.
- Working with a partner to orally plan what to say and how to say it.
- Visual prompts to support vocabulary, use of connectives, etc., such as laminated wow or connectives on words on the table.
- Checklists of what needs to go in a piece of written work so that children can refer to this to evaluate work (see checklist below)
N.B. children with speech and language difficulties often need plenty of opportunities to use language features before including them in a piece of written work, e.g. making sentences with topic words, joining sentences with connectives. There is often not enough time in lessons to work on these features.
Resources for Teachers and Parents to Download and Print
Below are three examples of resources to provide support for producing written work. They are for children aged 7 and older, to be used with support. I hope they help and enable children to express what they want to say more easily, and feel success. Click on the title to download the PDF.