Recently I did a workshop for parents at my son’s elementary school in their Parent Center. Some mom’s came with their toddlers. Other mom’s had older children that were in class. I talked about ways parents can encourage their children to write. It’s never too early to begin. Here are some easy, practical tips.
- Don’t be too critical. Nothing discourages a child more than correcting misspelled words too soon. In the early stages of the writing process called brainstorming, it is more important to get the idea down on paper. The time for editing comes later.
- Create a good environment at home. Make sure your child is comfortable when writing. The lighting should be good to reduce eye strain. Try to reduce distractions, like a loud TV or music. Make sure your child has the tools they need available.
- Take note of writing around them. Read signs as you drive together, and at the supermarket. Call attention to writing that is done by professionals you encounter such as doctors that write prescriptions and waiters that take your food order.
- Make handmade books together. Make a simple book by folding white paper together and stapling the fold. Start with a simple ABC or number book for younger children. Decorate it using cut paper.
- Write letters to family. Writing letters is a great way to keep in touch with family members in other states or countries. Teach your child how to address an envelope and prepare them in advance. Add pictures or cartoons to your letter and create your own stationary.
- Start a holiday newsletter. At the end of the year each child can write about events that happened to them that year and publish it in a one page newsletter that can be mailed to other family members. Be sure to add art.
- Create a make believe journal. Use your imagination. Let your child pretend to be someone else, like a famous actor, music star or politician and write from their perspective in this fun journal.
- Set up a writing event. Plan a family reading night at home, where each person can read their stories or poems. Make it special by making simple invitations and serving refreshments.
- Show and tell. Young writers are often proud of their work. Show it off on the refrigerator with magnets or make envelopes with their names on it to keep work inside.
- Praise your child. Respond to you child’s writing with enthusiasm. It lets them know that you think writing is an important and worthwhile activity.
Posted in April, 2008