Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Camping for Reluctant Writers!

 (Image from http://www.freerangekids.com)

One of the problems I often encounter is how to inspire some children to actually want to pick up a pencil (or pen) and actually write something.  They may find it difficult because they have poor fine motor skills, they maybe struggling with the processing skills to recall letter shapes or they just don't see why they need to write it down when they could say it!!

So the challenge is to get them to join in with writing because they see it as rewarding or fun.  With it coming up to summer and thoughts turning to what will be happening during those sunny, warmer days I devised these activities to create an incentive to do a bit more writing.  Most children would like to do camping (whenever I ask what they'd really like me to organise as an activity at school they always ask to camp in the school hall or school grounds - unfortunately for them and luckily for me no Headteacher has ever said yes!!) so by using the tents I get their immediate attention.

There are various ways these tents can be used:

For some of my beginner writers, I simply print out and laminate some tents with the lower or upper case letters on one side of the tent and they have an A4 or A3 sheet of GREEN paper they can spread some of these tents onto to make a camp site.  They can then either use an alphabet strip such as this one - (click on the button to download for free)
to copy both letters onto their writing sheet or they can try to fill in the other side using their recall skills. 

Another way is to use the tents for word families and the children have to write as many words as they can onto the group of tents.  They can then say who in the family would be sleeping in this particular tent (and maybe draw them nearby) e.g. for the word family - at  they may have the words - cat  hat  fat  bat  sat  rat  so they may say that the tent on which they have written cat is Mum's tent or their own  Grandpa has the tent with hat written on it   Uncle Roger is standing by the tent with fat on etc etc

Older children can use the tent idea for compiling compound words - outbreak, touchline etc especially if a set of tents is made up where the compound word has been pre-written and the tent cut in half so the child has to match the correct tent pieces and then transfer the word onto their tent sheet.

The b&w clipart and a couple of sheets of tents can be downloaded by clicking on the graphic below.

I'd love some more suggestions on how you might use these tents for encouraging reluctant writers or any other thoughts so please let me know :)


  1. A most interesting way to get reluctant children to write.Madeenjoyable reading.


  2. Thank you, Yvonne. Being creative in your teaching is what it's all about sometimes!