Bestselling children’s author Cressida Cowell is spearheading a new schools writing campaign, encouraging teachers to let children write creatively and independently.
Created by Cowell’s publisher, Hachette Children’s Group (HCG) and the National Literacy Trust, ‘Free Writing Friday’ will encourage primary school teachers, particularly those of Key Stage 2 classes, to give pupils free time to write in a notebook, which should be off-limits to parents and teachers. Children will then have the freedom to write whatever and however they choose.
Cowell said the scheme came about because teachers and parents always ask her what they can do to encourage creative thinking. “My answer always is: every child should have one notebook that no one corrects, in which the child writes and draws purely for the joy of it. Children are naturally creative and imaginative thinkers, but can get put off writing by the corrective red pen. In this one notebook, spelling, grammar and neatness should be completely irrelevant – what’s important should be the ideas, and that it’s fun.”
The initiative will launch on Friday (27th April), when Cowell will visit pupils at Riverview C of E Primary School in Epsom.
HCG has also created a website where schools can download writing advice and tips and enter a competition to win class sets of notebooks.
Jonathan Douglas, director of the National Literacy Trust, said: "A love of writing can unlock children’s imaginations, aspirations and academic potential. Yet half of school children tell us they don’t enjoy writing because they struggle with spelling, punctuation, and knowing what to write. That is why we are so thrilled to be supporting Cressida Cowell’s Free Writing Friday campaign. By giving children the freedom to explore their thoughts and ideas through writing– without the fear of having their work corrected or judged– we can help children discover a love of writing that will last them a lifetime.”