How to engage families
'During our celebration presentations to the parents it was really incredible to see the confidence of the children. They had devised and developed the content themselves, allowing us to see the high levels of text knowledge and comprehension they had developed. Reinterpreting and presenting information is something our children can find challenging, yet even those working below expectations were fully engaged in the development process.' Teacher
Involving families in writing can be difficult, and often the best way is to do something low-key at the beginning or end of the day when families are at school doing drop off or pick up.
- Have a board ready in the playground (or anywhere convenient parents are going to be at drop off time) covered in blank post-its. Have plenty of pens ready and ask them to write just a few words on a theme of your choice or in response to a question - perhaps what their favourite books are/were as a child, their favourite book characters etc. Use their responses in a writing activity with the children. Feed back the results to families in some way - as a poem using their words in the parent newsletter or handed out/performed at the end of the day, at a sharing assembly etc.
- Invite families to a celebration assembly of children's writing - either in the usual format or try a pupil-curated open classroom afternoon where pupils plan a number of book-and writing-oriented activities for visitors.
- Involve families in an hour's creative story brainstorming session at the start of a project then invite them in at the end of the project to hear the finished stories.
- Ask children to interview family members about their favourite stories, and write up the interviews for a class book, or record stories with easi-speak microphones and collate into a podcast.
- Over a half term, ask families to make a story book together, either retelling a family favourite or making up a new one.