Sneaky Ways to Get Your Children Writing

Sneaky Ways to Get Your Children Writing

child_writing_signature-300x277The more we write the better writers we will become!

With that being said, we understand it can be difficult to get our children excited about writing.

How can we encourage our kids to write more? Usually writing is related to homework, school, and other activities that children are not willing to do on their free time. As parent, we need to come up with sneaky ways to get our children writing.

We recommend reading this list by Amy Mascott on the Scholatic website. It covers 5 fun things you can do at home, or event at school (if you are a teacher) that are “more enticing and more inviting”.

Her tips include:

  • Making Lists
  • Keeping Journals
  • Making Pen Pals
  • “Convince-Me Letters”
  • and “Everything Books”
ByAmy Mascott on October 07, 2013

1. Lists.  If a child requests a certain dinner one night, (and it’s a manageable, reasonable request) consider saying, “Super! Great idea! I’d love to have that.  But in order to prepare it, we need to hit the grocery store sometime this week. How about you grab an index card and write down the ingredients we need to make it?  The cookbook is on the shelf.  Look up the recipe, and jot down what we need!”

First and foremost, it’s awesome to have help in deciding what meals to make.  Secondly, encouraging the child to grab a recipe book, search for the recipe, and jot down the ingredients not only sneaks in some extra reading, but it also allows for easy, unintimidating writing because of the small size of the index card.

2. Journals.  Journaling—making a habit of writing down thoughts as they come to you in a small, bound book—is not only a fantastic way to help children process and sort through daily events and challenges, but it’s also a great way to get them writing.  Journals can be handmade simply by stapling a few sheets together, or they can be purchased at gift or craft stores.

When adults model journaling, a child will more likely follow suit. Perhaps after dinner or right before bedtime, the whole family sits down for 10 minutes of journaling time. Or maybe it’s something done in bed with a night light.

3. Pen Pals.  We’re not talking email pen pals. We’re not counting texting a buddy as having a pen pal.  We’re talking old-school, pencil and paper, address-the-envelope-and-slap-a-stamp-on-it pen pals.

It doesn’t matter to whom they write.  All that matters is that they’re writing. So even if it’s a short note and a drawing to a younger cousin or maybe a few paragraphs to Grandma or Nana, a pen pal is a great way of connecting people and getting kids writing.

4.  Convince-Me Letters.  These letters are an early introduction to persuasive writing for kids. Convince-Me Letters are exactly that—letters that kids can write to convince their parents that they need that (insert item here: new pair of jeans/ extra hour of dance class/cell phone/ permission to sleep at a friend’s house).

If a child asks repeatedly for something, try saying this:
Listen, I can tell that you really want (whatever it is).  I am not guaranteeing I’ll say “yes,” but why don’t you write me a Convince-Me Letter, explaining in detail why you think you should have it?  When you’re finished, your father and I will look at it, and we’ll decided. But you only get one Convince-Me Letter opportunity for this item, so make it your best. Make sure you consider all sides of the argument and address them in your letter.

5.  Everything Books. Everything Books take the Convince-Me Letter to a whole new level.  They’re not one exhausting Convince-Me Letter after another; rather, they are books reserved for one child and his or her parents, which include continued conversations via notes or letters.

In simple spiral notebooks or journals, a parent starts by asking a question, writing a short story, or noting a few observations.  When finished, the adult hands the book to the child, and the child responds. Simple as that.

Everything Books can take weeks and weeks to finish, and there’s really no pressure to “complete” it. It’s just a silent conversation between loved ones.

Five super-sneaky ways to get kids—and parents!—writing.  Let’s get this writing party started.

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