National Writing Day – Best resources, worksheets and ideas
Get kids passionate about creative writing with these ideas, activities, lesson plans and more…
- by Teachwire
What is National Writing Day?
National Writing Day is the annual nationwide celebration of the pleasure and power of creative writing. It’s driven by a coalition of leading literacy organisations and publishers, led by creative writing charity First Story.
When is National Writing Day 2023?
National Writing Day 2023 takes place on Wednesday 21st June 2023.
Journey stories project pack
The team at Plazoom have specially designed this free whole-school primary creative writing resource pack for National Writing Day. Pupils from Reception to Year 6 can take part.
It uses the theme of ‘journeys’ to inspire pupils to write their own journey stories to develop their writing skills. Inside you’ll find a model text, planning sheets, a PowerPoint presentation, image prompts and themed writing paper.
Pie Corbett creative writing activities
Light up the imaginations of your KS2 pupils with our exclusive Pie Corbett Ultimate KS2 Fiction Collection.
Each resource features a Powerpoint version of the story so the class can read along, plus a PDF lesson plan explaining how to work with the story and inspire children to write their own versions.
Write a Paddington play script
There can be few characters from children’s literature better loved than Paddington. In this free KS2 lesson plan, children will use a key scene from the A Bear Called Paddington book to write and perform play scripts.
And if you really can’t get enough of the little fella, this free whole-school resource pack is packed with ideas for teaching writing in KS1 and KS2. Inside you’ll find four lesson plans and 15 activity sheets.
National Literacy Trust resources
The National Literacy Trust has rounded up some of its activities that are great for celebrating National Writing Day.
Take pupils on an interactive tour of the National Justice Museum, led by poet Panya Banjoko. Afterwards, explore pupils own responses to issues of justice via the poetry writing activities.
Alternatively, explore comedy writing while enjoying plenty of laughter at the same time with these primary and secondary Comedy Classroom resources. Alternatively, try this KS2 Comics Rule! teaching sequence and resources to explore the exciting world of comics and graphic novels.
Writing prompts for KS1 and KS2
Encourage writing for pleasure and greater depth with Write Now! resources from Plazoom. There are 200 original and inspiring prompts from the imagination of teacher/author Hayley Scott.
They’re perfect for daily 10- or 20-minute writing sessions or home learning. There are five separate packs, each with 40 writing prompts included.
Structure strips lesson for National Writing Day
Structure strips help pupils to consider what they should include in each paragraph of their writing. Stick them in the margins of your exercise book.
Each strip is divided into sections that act as a guide for the content, order and relative size of each paragraph.
This free structure strips download contains a lesson plan and printable structure strips for writing fiction/suspense, traditional tales, basic story structure and more.
This useful suspense writing checklist will help KS2 pupils with their mystery writing. Based on advice from nasen education director Alison Wilcox, children can tick off the different features and read the examples. Read more about building suspense in writing in KS2.
This free story mountain template will help pupils with their story planning. It has space for children to plan out the beginning, build-up, problem, resolution and conclusion of their tale.
Creative writing prompts for National Writing Day
If there’s not much time left in your school day to fit in creative writing, these fun writing prompts for KS1 and 2 take just ten minutes and will get pupils’ creative juices flowing. You can also take a look at our extensive creative writing prompts round-up.
RNLI KS2 creative writing pack
Boost creative writing skills, and teach children about staying safe near the water with this great activities pack from the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.
Encourage pupils to write a short story about falling into the water, with the help of specially recorded soundscapes and an interactive set of slides. Pupils will need to use all their senses to ‘show, not tell’. Get the free KS2 pack here.
There’s also a free pack for KS1 children, focusing on descriptive writing.
Commit to Free Writing Friday
Free Writing Friday is an initiative from author Cressida Cowell. The idea is this: every Friday, give children 15 minutes to draw and write, just for the fun of it. You don’t need to mark the work – it’s simply a time for ideas and fun.
KS3 and KS4 resources for National Writing Day
First Story has collaborated with BBC Teach and six writers to produce a set of creative writing resources for KS3 and 4 called Inside the Writer’s Mind. Explore the films and free classroom resources.
How great writing stimuli will get pupils’ creativity flowing
Laura Dobson explains how you can give students the right nudge to help them put pen to paper in creative writing…
Think back to your school days for a moment. Make a note of three writing opportunities you remember fondly. What made them memorable?
It probably wasn’t the ambitious success criteria or the time spent editing (although, no doubt, these things made you a more proficient writer). I would guess that they were memorable because of one or more of the following:
- You enjoyed them
- You took ownership over them and were proud of the outcome
- The writing had a real purpose
- You were inspired or engaged by the stimulus
In order to engage all children in the writing process, we have to create writing opportunities which allow children to feel one or more of the above.
Writing for enjoyment
If you spend the week in an excellent early years setting, you will see all children mark-making for pleasure. They want to write, not because that is the lesson objective, but because they have something they want to say, record or share.
Often that writing is inspired by the continuous provision they are immersed in. They want to write a recipe, create a treasure map, invite Goldilocks for dinner or make a parking ticket for an illegally parked scooter.
As we journey up through the primary years, we often remove that level of choice. Children are regularly writing in the same genre, using the same stimulus or addressing the same audience.
What would happen if we introduced writing for pleasure? What if children had a folder or a book where they could just create? Could we print out a picture or find a video clip to support one child’s story, while another pupil nips to the library to do research for the fact file on dinosaurs they are creating?
“What if children had a folder or a book where they could just create?”
It would allow children time to practise skills taught and it would give us further insight into what they can really achieve if they are engaged. All the research indicates that reading for pleasure makes better readers. Surely the same is true of writing too?
I often hear teachers say there isn’t time for such niceties, but I would argue that there needs to be. The first aim of the national curriculum is to engender an appreciation of human creativity and achievement.
What better way to appreciate human creativity than to be part of it?
Ownership and pride
Even within structured English sessions, there is still room for choice. If a child selects their own character, setting or animal to create a fact file about, they are more likely to take ownership over that writing, because the content is theirs.
The choice may come in how the writing is presented or who the audience will be. The structure of the writing may still be the same for all, allowing the teacher to scaffold and teach the skills so everybody can achieve.
But by providing choice, the children gain ownership. And with ownership and capability comes pride.
Our education system is filled with external motivation, but to find ways in which children are internally motivated is a real reward.
Think about the writing you have done over the last 24 hours. Lists, letters, notes, instructions and maybe a card or two. I would expect that most of your writing was for a real audience. We write because we want to communicate.
The best writing I have seen from children always happens when there is a real purpose or audience. A second-class stamp doesn’t cost much. Sending a letter that a child has taken thought and time over is priceless.
There are two billion children in the world, all having experiences that are sometimes similar and sometimes wildly different. Do your class have pen pals to share and compare these with?
Children are impassioned beings. They are the first to complain if they are unhappy about something. Utilise this.
Get them to argue, debate and write. Persuasion is so much easier when we genuinely want the person to be persuaded. Use national days, local events and school activities to make writing purposeful and fun.
Teachers are natural planners. We want to know in September what will be happening in December. But with the removal of the Primary Framework and the introduction of the 2014 curriculum, there is more freedom in English lessons than before.
Plan the skills you want to teach, but utilise real purposes. There is nowhere that states Y2 must spend six weeks looking at poetry and Y5 must spend three weeks writing a balanced argument. These are all pressures we put on ourselves.
Finding quality stimuli for writing is one of the biggest challenges for teachers. We’ve all been guilty of choosing a book because it matches the topic, even though it’s as dull as dishwater. A rich starting point nearly always leads to amazing writing.
Set up a crime scene and write witness reports; invite in a parent with an unusual job then write a job description for it; utilise freebies such as the Into Film Festival.
It’s hard to write about something you have not experienced. If you don’t believe me, have a go at writing a diary entry imagining you are a Chinese ambassador.
Our stimuli must provide children with enough experience that they can write. Vary it by trying books, experiences, art and film clips. The best writing diet is a varied one.
Laura Dobson worked as a teaching and learning consultant for a large local authority before setting up Inspire Primary English. She runs an OU/UKLA Teacher Reading group, is an active governor and still teaches.
- Take part in a national writing competition.
- Write to somebody who inspires you. It is amazing how many people and companies write back (and you might receive some great freebies too!).
- Find a school to twin with and become penpals. In doing so, you can cover much more than the English curriculum alone (art and geography, for example). Have a look at Connecting Classrooms, run by the British Council, to find out more.
- Set aside half an hour every fortnight to allow the class to write what they want. Let them bring in things from home and decorate their writing folders. Set ground rules and join in!
- Use a book that inspires you (even though it doesn’t link to your curriculum). My current favourites are Sky Song by Abi Elphinstone, Leon and the Place Between by Angela Mcallister, Once by Morris Gleitzman, The Elsewhere Emporium by Ross MacKenzie and Margaret and the Moon by Dean Robbins.
Browse ideas for International Literary Day which takes place in September.