Do you ever wonder why kids don’t like to write? Their minds are filled with imagination, and they love to tell stories.
So why don’t kids write more?
Well, I think that somewhere along the way, their enthusiasm may have been crushed by too many rules or over correction. When I was a kid, I loved to write. In fact, I created an elaborate story that I was sure would hit the top seller list. It hit a list, the “not good enough” list.
My masterpiece was returned to me with more red ink and writing on the pages from the teacher than my original composition. I was crushed. To make matters worse, I wasn’t taught what to do to make it better. After that experience, I didn’t want to write ever again.
Now, I love to write (again), but I’m not that good at it. However, here’s the thing, you don’t have to be that good. Just write! The more your kids write, the better they will get at writing. Mine did.
I know, I know… they don’t like to write. (or maybe your kids do- however, most don’t.)So…
How do you encourage your kids to write?
Start small. I have kids write in a journal for at least 10 minutes everyday. This is a warm up. No one looks at this work or corrects it, it is simply for the fun and joy of writing warming up their minds to let thoughts flow freely.
Start with frames that they just fill in. Start with what they know such as writing about themselves or what they love to do.
Only focus on one key skill to correct and edit at a time. This step of avoiding over-correcting keeps them motivated to write more.
Write outside the paper
Most of us have heard of the idiom- “Think outside of the box”. Well, let’s get our kids to write outside of the paper. How?
Let them use dry erase markers to write on table tops or desk tops. Paint a wall with chalkboard paint and let them write on the walls.
Set up an easel and let them write or paint while standing up. (They can paint a letter to someone using watercolors.)
I love to read stories that are a springboard to kids’ writing. Kids get so many good ideas from a story. There are many fun books that role model the writing process. Click here for a list.
After I role model a writing lesson, I set the timer for at least 10 minutes and play pretty, soft music. Research shows that kids write better when instrumental music like Mozart is playing softly while they write.
Kids love gel pens and scented markers. I do too! 🙂 Be sure to have pens, markers, colored pencils, crayons, and all kinds of writing utensils available. Also, remember to provide an array of paper.
Keep it real
There are so many reasons to give gratitude. In this day of digital communication, it is still lovely to receive a hand written thank you note. So, have your children write a real thank you note. The receiver will feel special that your child took the time to write and create it opposed to an instant tweet.
Plus, your child will have a real purpose for writing. When we think of life applicable situations for our children to write, they will enjoy doing it more because they have a real audience.
Kids of all ages love to read comics. Since reading and writing go together, let the kids read lots of comics. Then, have them plan out their own on this comic planner. I find that one reason kids love to write comics is that they are short, fun, and filled with pictures.
After they’ve planned out their comic strip, they can create it on paper or use this interactive tool: Comic Creator. This is a great tool with lesson plan ideas for grades K- 12.
Use the Write Stuff- Jump Into A Book has a wonderful article packed with writing resources and tips for kids to write.
Here are a couple to try: Storybird
Here’s a list of Apps for all ages from Common Sense Media
Read and write poems, read and write autobiographies, read circular stories like If You Give a Mouse A Cookie and have kids create a similar story using the same pattern, research and write, write a song, write a time line, write a recipe, write a shopping list, write a memo, write a letter, write a schedule, write an article, write how to do something, etc. There are literally hundreds of reasons to write making writing applicable.
Model and teach revision as a natural part of the writing process
None of us want to go back and redo our work. I think that we just want to be finished the first time. This is normal. However, we need to teach our children that writing is a process: ideas, write, revise/edit, rewrite, and publish.
When we teach and role model this, they know that they will need to go back and redo part of their work in order to make it better; it’s just part of the process. No big deal.
Recently, I learned about this fabulous video that models critiquing work and revising in a positive way in order to produce beautiful and excellent work. I think you will love it. It helps kids understand that they have waaaaay more to give to have a product they will be proud that they produced. Check it out: Austin’s Butterfly
Make Your Story Come to Life
The best part of teaching writing is celebrating the work the kids do through publishing. When they know that they are going to publish their work, they are motivated to complete it and share.
First, I share work that other kids have published so that they see it can be done and have a model. Then, they publish their finished work either with a spiral bound binding, report cover, or in books like Bare Books.
Another fabulous option is to use on line publishing tools such as the following:My Story Book, Shutterfly, and Lulu. My Storybook is free with the option to purchase a hard copy. The other resources are easy to manipulate creating lovely hard copy books of your child’s work.
Writing is a life skill that requires a brain workout. Therefore, remember to encourage your kids with applicable tools and lessons, and praise the process.
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Please share this article with others that you think would benefit from these tips. Also, please ask any questions that you may have about teaching children reading or writing. Leave your questions in the comments. I’ll answer.
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