Having a clear purpose and audience is so important in helping children (and adults) to understand what their writing should look like. If you are writing to persuade someone, you will need to use different language features and sentence structures than if you were writing to entertain. We might want our writing to instruct or explain, or we might want our reader to be able to imagine being part of the story through a description of the setting and atmosphere. Children need the opportunity to explore a range of genres in order to find their 'authorial voice.'
At Sussex Road, we use a variety of good quality texts to inspire the children's own writing and to model various techniques. The children learn to identify particular features of a genre and what effect these can have on the reader. They then explore using these in their own writing. Children are encouraged to reflect on what they have written: whether it meets its purpose and suits its audience effectively. They question whether they have used particular words, phrases and sentences structures effectively or whether they can be clearer in their meaning.
As well as writing in school, finding opportunities to write at home will increase children's confidence. Finding a real purpose and audience is ideal and could be something like a thank you letter. Writing for enjoyment is a purpose in itself and sometimes the author can be the audience, for example, writing a diary. If you're looking for ideas to inspire your child at home, try this website. There are short video clips from well-known authors who then set a short writing challenge.
Another short writing challenge is the 26-Word Story. Simply tell a story in 26 words, each word starting with each word in the alphabet in order. For example, A boy called Dave enjoyed feeding great hamsters in jars kept ...