Any mention of the word writing can put kids in the sourest of moods. In school, students are forced to copy out word after word, the language that jumps from the lips becomes stodgy and rigid on the page, its grammar levels up to ultra-hard difficulty and soon wrists begin to feel strained. They hand in their thoughts on paper, and what do they get back?

“12/24. Please work on your spelling”

Is it any wonder that writing is so globally disliked? It is my firm belief we should first comment on the intention of the student, drawing their attention to the meaning of the words. A well placed and neutral comment will often allow them to notice the mistake themselves. “So I see that you’re using a proper noun here. Why choose that noun in particular?” They should also be reminded that the reason we follow spelling and grammar is to let our thoughts be shared with others more easily, and not for their own sake.

This is all very easy for me to say. Parents and teachers are some of the busiest people I know, and I am in the very fortunate position where I can write my own lessons, but it is my humble opinion that with a small change to the way in which parents and teachers respond to written work we can show kids that words do not go to paper to die, but to live in the minds of others.

James Gold,
Creative Writing Coordinator at CMW