Literacy Tips


Literacy News and Tips – Supporting Writing at Home

One of the school’s priorities for the past two years has been to work to improve students’ writing. We have spent two years working to begin to understand and implement writing to learn strategies across the school and now we plan to have the writing to learn strategies embedded by the end of 2019 and all boys in our junior classes accessing these for their learning.

Research shows that writing plays a key role in learning.

Writing helps students to make connections between what they read, view and hear, and what they think and understand.

  • It is necessary to have students write in order for them to deepen their own learning.
  • It assists them to reflect on their learning, which is linked to increased understanding, and supports their increasingly sophisticated use of specific vocabulary.

With all of this in mind, we are continuing our focus on writing to learn strategies in 2019 with a view to progress the focus to learning to write. The role of the Literacy Coach is to identify areas of support and strategies for improvement through professional inquiry, collaboration and co-construction. Work is currently underway for the planning and implementation of processes whereby staff in subject areas are looking at writing to learn strategies useful to the learning that goes on in their field.

Writing to learn (WTL) strategies provide a significant tool that strengthens reading comprehension and enables students to reflect on and question information and ideas. WTL strategies help students to become more active learners.

What are Writing to Learn strategies and how can they help?

  • low-stakes writing activities that enable students to engage with writing in a non-threatening way. They are not assessed.
  • are designed more for meta-cognitive effect ie: for students to record their ideas, reflect upon their learning and grapple with unfamiliar content. The goal is for them to learn more deeply.
  • are generally short stints of writing which can switch students’ brains from off to on.
  • help students to discover new knowledge – to sort through previous understandings, draw connections, and uncover new ideas as they write.

What can parents do to help?

A lot of our everyday living involves low-stake writing tasks including making lists, filling in applications (online as well), notes to each other, labels on pantry items, reminders, emails, planning for family events and so on. You can help your child see that you too use writing every day for different purposes.

There are many things that you can do at home to help support your child improve at, and engage more often in, writing. Some ideas could include but are not exclusive to:

  • Encourage writing for a variety of purposes: ask your child to make the shopping list or add to it, write a fictional story or send a letter.
  • Use technology to improve writing – encourage your child to send an email or publish a story online.
  • Allow your child to observe you writing at home on your own (and smile while you are doing it too!) Take the time to share your writing with your child and talk about how you use writing in your personal and professional life. Show a variety of written items you have produced such as a written letter, business communication or journal page.
  • Provide authentic opportunities for your child to write and make it relevant to them and everyday events.

At New Town High School, we see the importance of writing as a learning tool and we are committed to working collectively and collaboratively to increase the amount of writing being done in classrooms with an underlying goal to foster positive attitudes around writing for learning and improving individual growth.

We want to work alongside you at home and want you to provide the support to assist us foster a positive attitude to this necessary life skill of writing.

Try some of these with your child at home:










We’d love to hear from you! If you have any great ideas on how you encourage your child to write at home then please send them through…or better still, get your son to write and send it on your behalf!