In a directed writing task, students are given a brief and must produce a piece of written work in line with what it asks. The brief outline is the type of writing that must be made, such as a formal letter, a speech, or a newspaper article. It also contains a scenario that the student must write about. It could be anything, from a proposal to build a new swimming pool, an argument against littering on the beach, or a report to their peers about the best way to manage their homework workload.

Directed writing tasks test children’s ability to write to specification, an essential skill that carries them beyond the classroom into adult life. It also tests their ability to recall and replicate features of different non-fiction texts. Finally, it’s an excellent way to understand whether or not your children are getting to grips with varying forms of writing and are engaging with the different formats and their characteristics. Why not start by looking at an example of the essay they will be producing?

An example of a directed writing task!

If you’re still confused, here’s an excellent example of what a directed writing task might look like. You could even practice this with your children if you want!

Form: Speech

You are concerned about new proposals to introduce fracking in your local area and want to challenge the council! At an anti-fracking rally in the town square, you give a speech to try and dissuade people from supporting the venture and convince the board to change their minds.

Think about:

  • The impact of fracking on the people of the town
  • The effect of fracking on the wildlife
  • The broader environmental impact of fracking
  • Other ways that this money could be used to improve life in your area or outside of it

This task is an excellent way to help children engage with broader topics while honing their literacy skills. Writing speeches will get them thinking about emotive expression, and the topic will allow them to dust off their persuasive writing skills. It is also an excellent, real-world task that could help them in the future. Who knows, they could be giving speeches themselves before too long!

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