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10 easy ways to make sure children read what you write – and, maybe, just maybe do what you want! (25 Apr 09)

Some remarkably simple rules to help you grab their attention and keep their interest

Helen Stables, who has years of experience of working in publishing for children’s magazines and books, is about to run our first workshop on writing for children.

So I asked for some of her key tips to share with you before the workshop.

They are incredibly simple, and like writing for adults, you just have to remember a few important things - and above all, try to put yourself in your reader’s shoes.

1. Grab their attention
Remember that children consider themselves short of time and have limited attention spans. This means your headline must work harder than ever and be as attention grabbing as possible.

2. Create an impact
With children this is often best done through pictures, rather than words. The impact of pictures is instant and by using them you can reach children who aren’t such good readers.

If you think about it that’s why people use images like No smoking signs with a picture of a cigarette with a line through it. It means you can instantly reach the most possible people with a message that has more impact.

3. Make your communications appropriate to different ages
You need to remember that children go through stages of development and so will have different reading abilities from each other depending on their age.

This might seem obvious but just remember that if you have a broad audience of say primary school children, some of them might not understand what you have written and others might find it too simple.

If you are writing for a broad audience of children, then you should probably try text that is fairly

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