Supporting Reluctant Writers on School Trips

Supporting Reluctant Writers on School Trips

Writing Can Be Fun!

How to Support Reluctant Writers

If you work with, or offer trips to children, you will come across reluctant writers at some point in your career. Those pupils who do not respond well to the traditional worksheet and pencil. These children may have special educational needs or simply be a child who ‘freezes’ when asked to write. They can be P&P-phobes – (pencil and paper-phobes.)

We know that new and engaging interpretation methods are the way to capture young minds; however, there are many ways you can adapt your education offer to still allow pupils to develop their English skills through answering questions, jotting thoughts or simply offering an opportunity to ‘make’ letters. You could look at some of the ways that educational professionals are encouraging pupil knowledge of letter formation and writing skills without a trace of the pen/pencil and paper (P&P) combination.

We have listed 10 simple and in-expensive methods you can use.

Not all of the following ideas are practical in every situation – but can you use any to help just one child?

10 Ways to Encourage Writing Without Using P&P

  • Gel boards – special gel filled plastic wallets that children love to write on. It is different and it can be any colour.
  • Writing in playdough – for some special needs children this works really well. They love to write their answers for others to read and then scrunch up the playdough, ready to start again.
  • Writing in slime or mud – it is messy, easy to rub out and slightly unusual.
Breaking the Rules

  • Windows, glass and mirrors – we have witnessed very reluctant writers creating wonderful outdoor poetry using this method. There is a time and a place…and your setting might just be it!
  • Tables – yes, we said tables! We know this goes against etiquette but there is nothing like ‘breaking the rules’ to get pupils on board.
  • Using unusual objects to write with– such as carrots, feathers, and other items linked to your attraction.


Big, Messy or Hands-On

  • Giant paint brushes or writing utensils and giant walls of paper, chalkboard or another large surface.
  • Sandboxes – simple boxes or trays with sand in that pupils can write using fingers or another object.
  • Making letters using objects – this can be string, paper straws – anything you can bend and make different sizes.

and finally…

What About Not Writing At All?

  • Why not provide those with additional needs the opportunity to record their answers or listen to the worksheets through digital devices such as, simple MP3 recorders.  Pupils can record their answers and play back. This helps them to develop writing skills such as word organisation, sentence structure and grammar.


Pupils respond really well to anything different, fun and slightly naughty! 


If you would like more information about supporting the needs of schools at your setting, please contact us on: or phone 07846281171