Blog | 5 Fantastic Free Write Ideas for Primary Classes
5 Fantastic Free Write Ideas for Primary Classes
Writing for pleasure unlocks a wealth of opportunity for children.
As with any skill… The more you do it, the better you get.
With a busy curriculum to work through (and only a limited number of hours in the day!), learning to read and write is significantly aided when children have the opportunity to do so in their own free time; be it stories at bedtime, or helping to write a shopping list with Dad on a Saturday afternoon.
However, children shouldn’t just feel compelled to practice writing at home; ‘free writing’ should also provide valuable writing practice in the classroom.
‘Free writing’ is a task whereby the class are expected to write continuously for a set amount of time, but without focusing on any particular skill.
It’s a chance for children to indulge in the opportunity to be creative, without constraint – often giving confidence and a sense of enjoyment as a result. This is, of course, the perfect recipe for everyone’s favourite kind of learning; the kind that doesn’t really feel like learning at all.
To assist, here’s five ideas to help your class embrace free writing and use it to their advantage.
1. Encourage children to see free writing as a leisure activity.
Although it’s a task that they’re being asked to undertake, free writing is an opportunity to mould literacy into something a pupil will choose to enjoy; they don’t need to write about any given topic, or in any particular style. It’s entirely down to them.
Putting emphasis on the fact that free writing is a chance to discuss topics they find interesting, or stories they would like to tell, adds weight to the idea that writing is an activity that you can pursue for fun (and of course, many authors would agree!)
If children can have a positive experience with free writing in the classroom, they will hopefully be persuaded to continue the enjoyment at home; thus, creating well-practiced and passionate wordsmiths over the years that follow.
2. Schedule regular free writing sessions each week.
Writing solidly for a period of time requires some discipline – even for adults.
As a result, it may be most appropriate to break down your free writing sessions over short bursts in a week; 15 minutes at a time, for example.
This should allow children to think on their feet and not succumb to boredom. If the children become super scribblers and are reluctant to finish at the 15-minute mark, you may choose to build up the allotted time over the course of the year.
3. Create free writing journals.
A journal is a safe place where ideas are personal and won’t be read by anyone else.
If the children lack confidence to get started in their free writing sessions, give them their very own exercise book that won’t be marked, or the contents read aloud. It’s theirs to keep and use during every free writing session.
If a blank journal is a bit intimidating to begin with, you could spend the first session decorating their covers. The children can then feel like they ‘own’ their writing – not the other way around!
4. Create a literacy area with a range of media.
Writing doesn’t need to just be stories!
To inspire the class to try a range of writing styles during their free writing sessions, designate a literacy area in your classroom, with a range of books from various genres.
Free writing is a chance for children to be any kind of writer they choose. They could write a real-life diary or take on a completely different role – a newspaper reporter, a professional chef creating their own cookbook, or even a vet giving advice on how to care for a naughty pet!
5. Offer opportunities to celebrate writing.
Once the class get into the swing of their free writing sessions, you may find that they no longer want to keep their work private.
For children who are proud of their efforts (and so they should be!), offer a chance to read aloud to the class – but make clear that this is strictly on a voluntary basis, and nobody will be forced to share their own.
You may find that the confidence of some children is infectious – or perhaps they would prefer to remain a ‘closed book’.
As long as the class are enjoying the chance to write, it doesn’t really matter.