by Pamela Hall
Enticing your kids to write is easier than you might think. Often, kids don’t like to write, because they haven’t had a lot of practice or instruction in writing, and it’s a brain workout; it’s hard. However, they can do hard things. In fact, you don’t have to love to write to be good at it. The more you do it, the easier it will be and the better you will get.
I know, I know. Your kids don’t like to write. (Or maybe your kids do, but most don’t!) I used to teach all the writing classes at our local homeschool co-op. My classes were always full, overflowing with kids that didn’t like to write. Why were they in my class? Their parents wanted them to write well, understanding the value in writing as an essential 21st century and life skill. So how did I entice them to write?
1. Baby Steps
Start with a small amount of time to write. 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.
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.
3. Use Apps
Here are a couple to try:
Storybird – http://storybird.com/
Storyboard That – http://www.storyboardthat.com/
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.
5. Model and Teach Revision Naturally
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: generate ideas, write, revise/edit, rewrite, then publish. When we teach and 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 can give waaaaaaaaaaay more to have a product they will be proud that they produced. Check it out: Austin’s Butterfly.
6. Make Your Story Come to Life
The best part of teaching writing is celebrating the work the kids have done by publishing it. 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 binding, report cover, or in books like Bare Books. Another fabulous option is to use on line publishing tools such as the following: https://www.mystorybook.com/, 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.
7. Hire a Service or Tutor
This works because it removes your emotional bond. When I taught other people’s children to write (grades 1- 12), I was their cheerleader, role model, and guide. I coached them through learning just a couple of new skills at a time. However, when I taught my own children to write, that was a different story. For some reason, I over-corrected them, became frustrated with them, and exasperated them. Therefore, I handed over writing to a friend or hired a service like WriteAtHome.
Writing is a life skill that requires a brain workout. Therefore, remember to entice your kids with applicable tools and lessons, and to praise the process.
If you liked this article, you may also like the following:
5 Ways You (Unintentionally) Kill Your Child’s Motivation to Write http://literateforlife.org/5-ways-kill-childs-motivation-write/
How To Help Your Child That Doesn’t Like to Write
Wife. Mom. Teacher. Writer. Education & literacy consultant. Lover of God, cappuccino, and chocolate. Leader. Ordinary with an extraordinary desire to make a positive difference in the lives of others, particularly children. Pamela is the founder of Literate For Life, a foundation offering programs to parents and teachers that educate, encourage, and empower people, particularly children, to be literate for life. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.