Home > Teaching Writing > Writing for the 5-6 year olds

Writing for the 5-6 year olds

Today I had my first writing lesson with a 6year old.. I think it’s a pretty successful attempt.

Young children generally prefer to read than to write. As soon as they are able to read fairly smoothly, there is no reason not to start them on writing skills. An easy way to start is to teach writing through imitation.

With this child, I began with a little story about a family holiday. In this story, the mother and children had never flown before, and so the mother was terrified. Coincidentally, this child, whom I am calling J, had just returned from a trip to Bali. So after reading the passage, learnt some new words, and tested him on oral comprehension, J had to rewrite the story.

Now some tuition teachers make their charges copy the entire story as a writing exercise. This can be quite boring for the child. For J, the rewriting entails changing the characters – in this case it will be his own family and his holiday destination, rather than Disneyland – which was the original story. This method is pretty effective for the following reasons:

  1. Some children learn through aural/oral route, others through actions – such as physically writing yet others through sight. This method incorporates all three.
  2. It requires thinking as names have to be changed appropriately, pronouns shift and verbs too.
  3. It reinforces the format of writing as well as introduces new punctuation rules.
  4. By introducing familiar situations, writing also is made more personal.

It is not enough just to write. In today’s  computer age, introducing word craft, and visuals into writing makes the piece colourful and looks professional. Hence I typed the passage for him. As he gets a little older, I will let him key in the composition himself. Then I introduced the concept of including pictures – from clip art and from the net. I searched for the pictures and allowed him to select them.

We finish off by giving him the credit, and a sticker of course. He felt very pleased – first he made fun of his baby brother, then he had such a pretty story to bring home to mama, and he got a sticker to boot. All in all a good day’s work, I think. Below is the story he wrote – names changed to protect their identity

it is even better if he had provided me with some of his holiday photos. Sometimes however, that is difficult as the children often forget to bring it with them.

Terry’s Airplane Adventure

The Chan family is going to Bali. To get there, they must fly on an aeroplane. Terry has never been on a plane before. He is afraid to fly. Jerry has never been on a plane, but he is not afraid. He wants to fly. He tells Terry, he will help him. Daddy tells him, “Don’t worry, ti ti.” (Ti ti is chinese, meaning little brother) He says, “Okay, I will try to be brave.”

The Chan family gets on the plane. Jerry holds his brother’s hand when the plane takes off. He is nervous, but he is brave. Soon, the flight attendants bring snacks. The family watches a movie on a small screen over their seats. The pilot tells the passengers to look out the window when they fly over the sea near Bali.

A few minutes later, the plane lands. The Chan family gets off the plane. Jerry is excited. He wants to play with the waves at the beach. Terry says, “I want to stay on the plane. It is fun. I am not afraid any more.”

Story written by Jerry Chan

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