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Writing with children at home (junior primary years 1–4)

Workshop plan


  • To support students in learning to write independently.
  • To alert parents/caregivers to how writing might be used with their children at home.
  • For students to share with parents/caregivers and teachers their knowledge, understandings, and uses of writing.
  • For teachers to learn what they might do in their own practice to build on parents/caregivers writing practices with their children at home.


Download an outline of the generic workshop structure:

Word icon. Generic workshop structure (Word, 32 KB)

Suggested approach

1. Whole group

Briefly describe the purpose of the session, linking it to the school community’s vision for supporting students through home–school partnerships, and go through the core contents of the session, referring to the relevant sets of key messages.

2. Small group:

Discuss the importance of writing and the practical uses of writing. List these as a group, on handout A. Alternatively, a chart could be made together; individual parents could make their own chart, or a completed chart could be given to each participant.

Read and discuss handout B, which describes the writing process. If possible, demonstrate the process of a parent and child talking and writing together. Identify the steps in the process that the adult and child go through together – forming intentions, composing the text, revising it, and finally publishing or presenting it.

 Provide examples of texts that a parent might write to a child and texts that a child might write to a parent.
(Parent-to-child examples could include: Remember to get your lunch out of the fridge. Remember to take your togs. Don’t forget your reading book. After school we are going to the pool. What special thing would you like for dinner this week? What will we buy at the supermarket tomorrow? Child-to-parent examples could include: Please may I have … in my lunch tomorrow? If you go shopping, please buy me a new drink bottle. Can Maia come to our place to play after school?)

Discuss different types (genres) of text. Talk about the difference between non-fiction and fiction texts. Next identify different types of both non-fiction and fiction texts. Then choose either non-fiction or fiction and use Handout C to discuss how parents could support children in their writing without taking away the child’s sense of ownership of their own writing. Discuss ways to encourage children to be independent writers and the importance of adult’s interest and encouragement. The group could discuss what happened when they did give their child encouragement about their writing.

3. Whole group

This is a sharing session with all parents/caregivers and teachers. The lead parent (if comfortable) or the lead teacher could report about what the small groups have learned, what they wondered about, what questions they might have for the teachers and what they may wish to tell the teachers. Notes are made of this part of the session, as appropriate.

When they join in as part of the whole group, teachers may be able to answer some of the questions they have on their sheet (Handout D). If appropriate, a time may be organised for further discussion and demonstrations.

Parents and teachers identify what they might try out over the next week or two and how they could get feedback about it.

Gather data

Refer back to the outline of the generic workshop structure, above.

Farewell and follow-up steps

Refer back to the outline of the generic workshop structure, above.

Resource sheets

Handouts for parents/caregivers

A: Why writing is important.

Word icon. Handout A writing with children at home (Word, 27 KB)

B: The writing process.

Word icon. Handout B writing with children at home (Word, 43 KB)

C: Key messages: Writing with children.

Word icon. Handout C writing with children at home (Word, 40 KB)

Handout for teachers

D: Questions to consider: Supporting children’s writing in the home.

Word icon. Handout D writing with children at home (Word, 36 KB)

Published on: 01 Apr 2020