Blog writing boost to boys' literacy

Hunters, fishers and pirates

KAT DUGGAN
Last updated 07:03 03/12/2013
Logan Winter
Derek Flynn
In print: Renwick School pupils Logan Winter, 10, and Saxon Ferris, 11, have had their blog posts picked up by a New Zealand hunting magazine

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Renwick School pupils have been making headlines in a national magazine with their tales of hunting and fishing in Marlborough.

Year 5 and 6 teacher Phillip Johnson came up with the idea of a "Blokes Blog" earlier this year to provide a forum for boys at the school to write stories for other boys.

Two blog pieces have been published in the New Zealand Outdoor Hunting magazine, and another four would be published in the February edition.

The idea behind the blog, Mr Johnson said, was to motivate and encourage pupils, from new entrants to year 8 students, to read and write and therefore boost literacy.

"It's not as such bagging what's been in the past but just something to ignite the boys and often they like writing about something they have done and what they are interested in," he said.

While the blog is not an assessed part of the school curriculum and was an optional task, Mr Johnson had received 84 pieces of writing this year and the blog had received more than 1500 page views.

Year 6 students Saxon Ferris, 11, and Logan Winter, 10, have been writing hunting and fishing stories for the blog. They said they were keen to keep blogging once they left the school.

"It's a really good experience for us, it's real good for us to write our personal experiences in and encourages us to go outdoors and do more things," Saxon said.

Both boys had articles picked up by the magazine, which Mr Johnson also writes for from time to time.

Logan said they both enjoyed writing about their main hobby, hunting, although the blog had attracted stories about fishing, model making, Lego, and pirates as well.

Mr Johnson said the blog had attracted interest from other schools throughout the country, with many leaving comments.

He believed the literacy of the boys had improved, through a combination of the blogs and other school initiatives.

Principal Simon Heath said the boys were also motivated to focus on and lift their writing achievement through their regular writing classes and a very new approach to teaching writing at the school.

"All three combined have had a significant impact on our boys' achievement this year," he said.

They were to continue with the blogs next year, Mr Heath said. 

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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