Joseph is a gorgeous nine-year-old full of thoughtful ideas and sparkle. But his unaided writing looks like this.

Look closely and you will see well-formed letters that float off the line and lack regular sizing, spelling errors, repetitive language, lack of formality and classic punctuation omissions. It can seem a little overwhelming to fix.

There is no point marking up every single mistake and commenting in the margin about the detail, as all the red pen would be too much to take in. Children often struggle to write because they are given too much to think about; the subject, the challenge to, ‘put in more adjectives’, capital letters, full stops, planning, handwriting, spelling… it’s exhausting!

In fact, when anxious children have this much to think about, that they end up simply staring at the blank sheet of paper, swamped.

The trick is to pick out one or two very simple things that the child can improve upon, and focus on those. In this case, Joseph found it easy to sit his writing on the line first, and to focus on capital letters at the beginning of each of his sentences.

Small steps maybe – but with buckets of praise and regular reminders he fixed those two small issues and felt ready to move on to the next.

If you would like to find out more about improving your child’s writing, CLICK HERE for ‘How to fix your child’s writing‘.