I have been having a great time with a writing club that I have set up with support from my sons school. Like a lot of his friends Eric had developed a great love of reading but was finding it hard to generate any enthusiasm about writing. I wondered if this was anything to do with the fact that we often enjoyed sharing books together but the writing we did together was limited to his homework and this was regularly an ordeal. This meant he often saw the adults around him enjoying books but not writing.
The problem was that 10 year old children see through any attempt to make anything good for them appealing and are more interested in doing things with their friends than their Mums. So I asked the school if I could set up a club for the reluctant writers in his class and their families, the idea was to give them a boost of enthusiasm before they go in to their last year of primary school.
The key elements were: that activities focus on having fun rather than writing; that adults carry out the tasks alongside their children; that short activities are carried out at home and that all writing is done to help each person remember their best ideas which we then share, rather than the writing itself.
The most fun way to do this has been role play, we have been spies, top chefs, palaeontologists, explorers and next week we will be superheroes with unlikely alter-egos. I can’t wait to find out what ideas they have come up with, I have been so impressed with how enthusiastic and creative the children and their parents have been. I can really recommend doing something like this at your school and I’m pleased to report that not only have we had great fun but Eric tells me he is enjoying writing at the moment. This may not be due to the Writing Club but it certainly hasn’t done any harm.