Advice Column, Assisted Learning, Education

10 minute writing

  • Glenoaks Remedial and Special Needs School
  • Category Advice Column, Assisted Learning, Education

Have you ever noticed that children rarely see the adults in their lives sitting down to write something on a piece of paper? They see us sending text messages, making to-do lists, or working on a device, but how often do they see us physically writing something creative?

From grade 3 to , we encourage the practice of writing on a regular basis for just ten minutes at a time, using a picture or a writing prompt. This can be a powerful tool for children who struggle with writing. I believe that this approach offers a structured yet creative way to help students develop ideas, sequence their thoughts, and encourage ideation – turning what may seem like a scary task into an enjoyable and constructive exercise.

Using a picture or a prompt can help to: 

  1. Spark Creativity: The visual or written prompt acts as a springboard for a child’s imagination. It provides a starting point to ignite  creativity and makes it easier for them to come up with ideas for their writing.
  1. Focus on Expression: With only ten minutes to write, children can concentrate on expressing their thoughts rather than worrying about the length of their writing. This minimizes the pressure and allows them to focus on content.
  1. Organize Thoughts: Writing prompts teach children how to structure their ideas and thoughts. They learn to create a beginning, middle, and end, forming a logical sequence in their writing.
  1. Expand Vocabulary: Regular writing exercises expose children to new words and phrases. Over time, this expands their vocabulary and encourages them to experiment with language, making their writing more engaging.
  1. Build Confidence: As children see their writing skills improve through this practice, they gain confidence in their abilities. This boost in self-esteem can be instrumental in overcoming writing challenges.
  1. Foster Consistency: Developing a habit of writing regularly – in an ideal world, for 10 minutes a day –  instills consistency. Children learn that writing is not a sporadic task but a regular practice, making it less daunting.
  1. Encourage Ideation : By writing about different topics and prompts, children are encouraged to think creatively and explore various ideas. This helps in nurturing their ability to generate unique and imaginative content. It also helps to develop detail and expand upon their initial idea.
  1. Improve The flow of writing: We temporarily remove the need for perfect spelling which can be liberating for children. This freedom to express themselves without the constraint of spelling allows children to focus only on their ideas and creativity, which is essential for their writing development. 
  1. Edit for PASS:  We use the acronym PASS which can help children to begin editing their own writing. P= punctuation. A= appropriate language and vocabulary,  S=  Spelling, S= sentence sense.
  1. Read from ‘The Author’s Chair’: Children like to share their stories so we have a space where they can read to their friends and listen to each other’s work.  This space over time becomes a place to help each other edit and fine tune their writing.

Let’s talk about spelling in 10 minute writing…

Although I do advocate good spelling practice and happily use devices or small white boards to help children access the correct spelling word – but when it comes to 10 minute writing, I encourage everyone to take spelling ‘off the table’.  Over the years I have noticed that the following happened when spelling was not the main area of focus in creative writing…

  • Reduced Anxiety: For many children, spelling can be a source of anxiety and self-doubt. When they are given the freedom to write without worrying about spelling, it reduces this pressure and allows them to enjoy the act of writing.
  • Encourages Risk-Taking:When spelling is not a primary concern, children are more willing to take risks in their writing. They might experiment with more complex words or write about topics they find interesting but would have avoided due to spelling difficulties. They might try writing in other formats such as songs, poetry or dialogues.
  • Emphasis on Ideas: With spelling temporarily out of the equation, the emphasis shifts towards the ideas and the creative process. Children can concentrate on telling a story, describing a scene, or expressing their thoughts in a way that feels natural to them.
  • Improved Flow of Writing:The fear of making spelling errors can disrupt the flow of writing. When this concern is set aside, children’s writing tends to flow more smoothly, making it easier to capture their thoughts on paper and expand on these thoughts.
  • Boosts Confidence: As children see their ideas come to life on the page without the hindrance of spelling, it boosts their confidence. This increased confidence can be a stepping stone towards improved overall writing skills.
  • Emphasizes Editing Later: While spelling is important, it’s a technical aspect of writing that can be fine-tuned during the editing process. By separating the act of generating ideas from the act of correcting spelling, children learn that they can always refine their work later, allowing them to focus on the creative aspects in the initial draft.

10 minute writing fosters a love of writing and helps children build the foundation for stronger writing skills in the future.

Why not take 10 minutes now to try a picture or writing prompt for yourself?

Picture -Writing: 


Write something for 10 minutes based on this picture…it can be a made up story, a slice of your life, a memory, or merely describe what you are seeing in the picture.

Writing Prompt:

Explore this question as best you can. Would you rather live in a caravan or a tent? Please give some good reasons for your choice.


Written by Heather Francis – Academic English Support

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