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Kids are brimming with ideas, jokes and stories. A lot of the times capturing those spontaneous ideas into words can be challenging. Also, not every child is the same. Some might take to writing quite easily while others might need some focussed mentoring. Writing is important. No matter what your children learn in high school or what career paths they chose, they will need to write to express themselves. Writing is not only an important form of communication but also an important emotional outlet.
Whether or not your child is a reluctant writer, they all need encouragement. We have spoken to incredible teachers and parents, collated their advice and created a list of 7 ideas for your budding writers to write.
Make writing a fun game. Use prompts to help your child string together the words. Make your own storyboard using post-it notes. Ask your child to write a sentence, could be a few words on each post-it note. Once they have written a lot of these have them arrange the notes on a wall or on a board. Let them play around by switching the notes and reading out loud to see how that changes the story or make it sound really funny. Have a giggle.
You could also use Story Cubes to enact a timeline and get rally creative with finding alternate storylines.
Young kids really love to be goofy. Find a story book and have your kids re-write the story by replacing words on the book by a funny chosen word, like ‘poop’ or ‘purple pizza’.
It is no secret that we all love to help. Kids do too. Ask them for help with writing things around the house. If you are making a grocery list, ask them to write that down. For young children who are just starting to write, this will get them familiarize with the idea of writing.
You could also use this opportunity to discuss with your kiddos what ingredients are needed to make s’mores or cake and have them write those down. This is a fun way to teach them the concept of deconstructing big idea into smaller parts.
Sometimes switching things from the traditional can help it make playful for the children. If the pencil and paper does not seem to work, looking for a digital solution could be helpful. Anytime you look for something like that make sure you find an app that has a place to draw because picture writing is an important first step in the writing process especially for children. The adding of colors into an imagination is always a fun thing for them.
Children love reading books or listening to you reading books. The idea of them writing their own book is a thing of pride. Have them write and draw on a few loose papers and have them staple it all together to make their own book. Encourage them to add a cover page and an author’s page to the book just like the books they read. Have them call it ‘My Book’. The joy along with pride that they feel having created that will help them be writers.
The stories we tell are our unique experiences. A lot of those experiences come from everyday life. Have your children draw ideas from things that they have done in the morning or a few days ago. Ask them to write about the time they had a play date with their best friend, or they learnt how to ride a bike without training wheels. Offer help by asking them questions like, ‘Then what happened’, ‘What happened next?’ Make it fun by taking a few pictures of their bike, printing it out and taking it to their writing sheet. Or use a writing app that allows to take a picture and draw on top of it.
I am inspired by the writing celebrations that I have been part of when my kids’ elementary school teacher invited parents to enjoy the stories that the students had written. Organize something similar at home. It can just be with the members of the family but you can make it fancy by laying down a fun blanket, getting popcorn and treats, and having designated time and day as the ‘writing celebration’ event. Gather around and have your kids read their story out loud. Use the days prior to the celebration to motivate your child to finish their story. You could also organize something like this along with your child’s playdate friends.
As adults we are compelled by the idea of perfect. I am not questioning the fact that we all need to teach our kids how to correctly write but don’t let correctness hamper their willingness to rite. Avoid correcting their spellings especially when they are just beginning to write. Remember that the concept of the story is much bigger than how ‘troo’ must be spelled. I meant ‘true’. While children are thinking about their idea and learning to translate their imagination into words you don’t want them to be bogged down by the fear of not getting every word right. That will come later.
The story is what matters.