Memorable writing

11th February 2005 at 00:00
I devised a checklist called QUICK SPAM to give young writers a focus for accuracy and to help ensure their writing is varied and interesting to read. It particularly suits creative writing in English, but many of the literacy features apply whatever the written outcome.

"Q" reminds you that Questions always need question marks.

"U" and "..." together to suggest Unusual and Interesting vocabulary.

"C" reminds you to check Capital letters at the start of sentences and proper nouns.

"K" is for different Kinds of sentence (a bit of a cheat, but varying the sentence length and subject avoids predictability and helps writers achieve a higher mark).

"S" tells you that Speech always needs speech marks (I'm hoping they'll check spelling anyway).

"P" is for the all-important Paragraphs which can even be marked in at the end, if need be.

"A" reminds you that Apostrophes are needed for possession and abbreviating.

"M" gets them checking for a Main verb in every sentence and not just writing in note form.

I encourage pupils to spend the last five minutes of writing time doing a QUICK SPAM check - right up to GCSE, it gets them actively proof-reading for errors and can help identify what they need to do to improve.

John Gallagher Teacher of English, King Henry VIII School, Coventry

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today