Every week at Inkpots, I see (on average) 70 children between the ages of 7 and 12. There is a wide range of personalities, capabilities, interests and issues. We have children from very different back grounds and an increasing number whose first language is not English. It’s a wonderful, eclectic and exciting mix.
There are some children who are very talented writers and each week turn up with another story or another chapter of a book written. Lots of children are confident readers too and soak up book after book. A number are great artists and it’s easy to imagine that a number will go on to study at art school.
But we also have children who don’t find it that easy. They may well have fabulous ideas but – for whatever reason – they just find it difficult to get their stories down on paper.
Inkpots has been running for just over four years and that means we have several children who have been coming to after school clubs for some time. Some of them never write a word but just like being involved in the group, talking about what they have been doing and occasionally doing something creative.
To me, their involvement in Inkpots is as valuable as those who write and create and produce lots of material. Every child has an important part to play in making Inkpots a happy place to be.
But sometimes, being unsure about writing and lacking confidence in your own ability becomes uncomfortable. This often happens as a child progresses through school – and peer group pressure, looming assessments and sheer frustration all start to play a part.
For parents – especially if you enjoy books, reading and writing yourself – it’s a real worry and concern.
Over the last summer holidays, I did a lot of consultation with parents and teachers about the value of some of the things we offer at Inkpots. One of the issues that came up time and again was concern about this subject.
Therefore, I am delighted to say that we now have a free information sheet to help support and encourage unsure young writers. I am indebted to Shirley Gardener, the very wise and supportive Special Needs Co-ordinator at Warden Park Primary Academy in Haywards Heath, Sussex for her help and advice. I also had help in the form of the suggested books to help unsure readers from lovely, kind Alexis Filby who is not only a respected children’s book blogger but a library and information assistant in Sheffield too.
I do hope that this is just the start – it’s a very basic sheet and I would dearly love to add ideas and suggestions to it. I would be delighted to hear from you if you have any comments or thoughts.
Click HERE to get your copy of the information sheet.
Over the Easter holidays, we are also running a free online story fest – no pressures to finish things to a deadline, just a chance to have some fun. More information is HERE. Then in May, we launch an online club. If you would like more details of the plans, please click on this link http://inkpots.org/wordpress/inkpots-inc/