Novel approach to lift pupils’ writing

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Waitaki Valley School has a bunch of new authors. The entire school has combined to produce a book, which was spurred into creation to lift the pupils’ writing abilities, the principal says. The book has been released at Kurow Museum and at Paper Plus in Oamaru, witha promise the bookshop would work on trying to get the book out for wider distribution in its network. Principal Deidre Senior said she was proud of what her pupils had achieved within about a year, and said the book wasa celebration of their work. Every child — all 104 — who was at the school at the end of last term contributed a piece of writing for the publication Waitaki Writes. One of the recent focus areas at the school had been to boost writing achievement among the pupils, Mrs Senior said. Writing was a skill identified last year as an area for improvement. ‘‘We’ve thrown in a lot of resources to teachers’ professional development and [to] learning support teachers. ‘‘Classroom teachers have worked really hard to target children who needed their achievement raised, but there’s also been the development of the enjoyment of writing. ‘‘So it’s not seen as a task for the sake of doing it, so children can see there’s not only enjoyment for them as they write, but also enjoyment for others who are reading their writing. ‘‘What it’s doing is giving all our students an authentic audience to write for.’’ Mrs Senior said the idea for the book came from another school. ‘‘The idea is this is something we can do each year, and over time you’ll be able to see the progress of our children’s writing as they go through school.’’
Proceeds from the book sales will be used for the school.