At school, children will usually be asked to write a recount about something exciting and memorable that has happened to them. Or they may be asked to imagine themselves as a character in a book and write a recount of an important event that has occurred in the story. Ioan decided to write a recount about some of our snowy fun last week.


  • Lined paper
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Eraser

What is a recount?

A recount text is a piece of writing that gives details of an experience or an event that happened in the past.  The purpose of a recount can be to inform, entertain or to reflect and evaluate. 

Recount texts can come in the form of diary entries, newspaper articles and letters, and usually have the following features:

  • Written in chronological order. That means placing the events in the order in which they happen.
  • Written in the first-person. The biggest clue that a sentence is written in the first person is the use of first-person pronouns. This is when we talk about ourselvesour opinions, and the things that happen to us. Singular first-person pronouns include I, me, my, mine and myself. Whereas we, us, our and ourselves are all plural first-person pronouns.
  • Written in the past tense. The past tense shows that you are talking about something that has already happened.
  • Use time connectives, e.g. firstly, secondly, finally, meanwhile, eventually, afterwards. Some of our favourite time connectives are minutes later, before I knew it, without warning and as quick as a flash.
  • Use action verbs, e.g. We jumped out of the car. Jumped is the action verb (or ‘doing word’) because it describes an action (what you are doing).
  • Use adverbs. To make your writing even more exciting, you can describe how you perform the action. The previous example could become, “We quickly jumped out of the car.” The word quickly, is an adverb because it describes the action verb.

A recount should always be told in the order that things happened, but can focus on a specific section of an event or retell the entire story. Ioan decided that, instead of writing a recount of all the fun he had building a snowman, he was going to focus on the start of the story.

As with many children, Ioan often finds it hard to actually start writing. To take the pressure off, we discussed what he would expect to find in an introduction. The introduction should include the 5 W’s:

  • Who did the activity?
  • What did they do?
  • Where did this take place?
  • Why? What was the purpose of this activity?
  • When did this happen?

It is easy for a recount to become quite dull. So instead of Ioan launching in to a purely factual account, I asked him to just write his opening sentence then pause. He read his first sentence out loud, then just talked through his ideas. This allowed his creativity to flow. As you can see, his first attempt at an opening paragraph was far from boring!

After lots of giggles, Ioan decided that although it would catch the reader’s attention, this might be a bit too much drama for his opening paragraph.

Moving on to his second paragraph, he continued talking through his ideas, before writing them down.

These were his first two paragraphs:

Ioan also read back what he had written to try and see if he needed to make any changes. He noticed he had written, “As we stepped outside as snow crunched under are feet.” He got rid of the second ‘as’ and changed the ‘are’ to ‘our’.

I always think it’s a great sign when they look this happy writing.

Our homeschooling is regularly punctuated with tickles from Cian.

This was Ioan’s next section of dramatic story telling! This time he decided to incorporate most of his dramatic ideas in to his writing.

Moving on to closing his recount. What I like about children talking through their ideas, before starting writing them down, is that they can make improvements easily. Once they’ve committed the words to paper, children are much more reluctant to make changes. Ioan started off by saying, “After the big toddler attack, eventually I could…” then adapted it, by moving the “Eventually” to the start of the sentence.

The finished recount:

A couple of weeks later, Ioan was ready to plan a slightly longer recount. First, he made a picture plan of his ideas. He drew on his experience at the weekend, when the snow melt caused flooding in the fields nearby.

One thing that Ioan was keen to improve this time around, was to include more detail about where his recount took place. I have blurred out the place names in his writing.

DfES Outcomes for EYFS and National Curriculum (2013)

English Year 2 programme of study

Writing – Handwriting

  • Form lower-case letters of the correct size relative to one another
  • Start using some of the diagonal and horizontal strokes needed to join letters and understand which letters, when adjacent to one another, are best left unjoined
  • Write capital letters and digits of the correct size, orientation and relationship to one another and to lower case letters
  • Use spacing between words that reflects the size of the letters.

Writing – Composition

  • Develop positive attitudes towards and stamina for writing by:
    • writing narratives about personal experiences and those of others (real and fictional)
    • writing about real events
    • writing for different purposes
  • Consider what they are going to write before beginning by:
    • planning or saying out loud what they are going to write about
    • writing down ideas and/or key words, including new vocabulary
    • encapsulating what they want to say, sentence by sentence
  • Make simple additions, revisions and corrections to their own writing by:
    • evaluating their writing with the teacher and other pupils
    • re-reading to check that their writing makes sense and that verbs to indicate time are used correctly and consistently, including verbs in the continuous form
    • proof-reading to check for errors in spelling, grammar and punctuation [for example, ends of sentences punctuated correctly]
  • Read aloud what they have written with appropriate intonation to make the meaning clear.

Writing – vocabulary, grammar and punctuation

  • Develop their understanding by learning how to use both familiar and new punctuation correctly, including:
    • full stops
    • capital letters
    • exclamation marks
    • question marks
  • Learn how to use sentences with different forms:
    • statement
    • question
    • exclamation
  • Use expanded noun phrases to describe and specify [for example, the blue butterfly]
  • Use the present and past tenses correctly and consistently including the progressive form
  • Subordination (using when, if, that, or because) and co-ordination (using or, and, or but)