We joined our wonderful ambassador Cressida Cowell today as she visited a group of very excited pupils at Riverview CofE Primary School in Epsom to launch her brand new Free Writing Friday campaign to encourage children to write for pleasure.
The whole school listened in awe as the award-winning children’s author and illustrator read passages from her bestselling novels How To Train Your Dragon and The Wizards of Once. Cressida had the children in fits of laughter as she taught them how to speak Dragonese and, when she asked them what secret magical powers they would like to have, she got a barrage of imaginative responses, from being able to fly and having a cloak of invisibility, to super speed and stealing ice lollies!
Cressida declared the hall to be "fizzing with magic" as the children excitedly received their brand new Free Writing Friday notebooks. The campaign encourages teachers to set aside time every Friday for their pupils to write whatever they want, however they want, in their very own notebooks. Crucially, these notebooks are off limits to teachers and parents, giving children the freedom to write, draw and doodle without worrying about their work being corrected.
We are thrilled to be partnering with Cressida Cowell and Hachette Children’s Group on Free Writing Friday. Campaigns like this, which help children discover a love of writing, are crucial to our work as we know that they boost children’s confidence, motivation and academic attainment.
But our latest research, published today, shows that children’s enjoyment of writing and how often they write outside school are both in decline. Children also reported facing major barriers to writing, including having trouble deciding what to write (45.5%), struggling with spelling and punctuation (34.7%) and finding writing in itself difficult (19.4%).
The Free Writing Friday campaign wants to remove these barriers by encouraging teachers to set aside time every Friday for their pupils to write whatever they want, however they want, in their very own notebooks. Crucially, these notebooks are off limits to teachers and parents, giving children the freedom to write, draw and doodle without worrying about their work being corrected.
Our Director, Jonathan Douglas, said: “By giving children the freedom to explore their thoughts and ideas through writing – without fear of having their work judged of corrected – we can help children discover a love of writing that will last them a lifetime.”
Cressida has created some fantastic resources for pupils, packed full of writing tips and wonderful illustrations from her books, which teachers can download from www.freewritingfriday.com. Teachers can also enter a competition through the website to win a set of special notebooks for their class based on Cressida’s The Wizards of Once series – perfect to use on Free Writing Fridays!