A recent report from the National Literacy Trust found that over a fifth (20.9%) of boys surveyed said that they did not enjoy writing compared to 8.6% of girls.
Across the UK, 35,000 pupils between eight and 16 took part in this survey and were asked various questions about writing. These regarded writing in and outside school – whether it was in a diary, sending emails, penning letters, posting on social media and texting friends. Almost a third (30.2%) of boys said they rarely wrote outside of school, compared with 17.3% of girls.
It was also found that boys were considerably more likely to reply on technology as a writing aid than girls. This reliance is evocative of a wider gap in standards between the sexes. Furthermore, nearly one in three boys admitted that there was no point in learning spelling and grammar when they can use a spellchecker, compared with a fifth of girls.
Julie Gibbings the charity’s senior programme manager, said:
“Our research shows that we must focus on increasing boys’ enjoyment of writing, if we are to support them to succeed at school and throughout their future lives.
“It’s down to teachers as well as parents to nurture a love of writing in boys and help to develop positive attitudes towards it early on in their education.”
One simple way to get boys writing more is setting up a blog, which allows them to write about anything they want, from their favourite football team to their family holiday or a series of short stories.
To help them with writing, check out some tips below:
Choose a subject(s) that the children in your class will love. Either provide 5-6 general options or let the children choose what they want to write about. They will write best if they are able to focus on a topic that they know or have an interest in.
Visually layout a story. Get the children to create a storyboard to include pictures of key elements; as boys are visual learners this should help them.
Get the children to think about the characters of the story. Suggest that they draw these so they can see exactly what they look like. Once they know how they look like this could help them develop their characters personality or how they move around. Also get them to think about where the story will be set; again drawing this should help them describe it when it comes to writing later.
If children are stuck for ideas keep a box of objects as teaching aids; it could contain things like a whisk, a fossilt, a green ball and a bottle of bright blue liquid (water with food colouring). Get the children to then weave these objects into their story or base their story around one or two of these.
If some children don’t like writing fiction, get them to explore different genres like non-fiction. This could be particularly interesting for them if they love football or a certain computer game. Alternatively you could get them to write and draw a comic strip.
The main thing here is to praise and reward students for creating a story. If they feel like they have had fun and that their work is being appreciated, they will more likely persevere and continue to write.