The parents of the students I tutor often ask how they can encourage their children to write. I tell them to do what I do during their lessons: Keep writing fresh and fun!
- Let kids pick their own favorite genres, whether it be creating short stories, poetry, or plays or simply keeping a journal. Modeling writing after favorite writers (not copying) can also be a motivator. This is where reading quality literature goes hand-in-hand with writing.
- Have your child write about something he or she experienced that day, such as a movie, time with a friend, a holiday celebration, or the first day of school. Even a bad day can be rewritten with a happy ending!
- Young writers should feel free to pick their own subject matter; if they are interested in the topic, it is amazing how the time flies while they are writing!
- Crazy pencils and pens, stickers, decorated journals, and whimsical writing supplies kept readily available also help keep pint-sized authors entertained.
- Refrain from correcting your child’s writing and be sure to offer a lot of praise. Instead, join the fun and set a good example by doing your own writing. When my son was younger, we would pick a prompt and both write separate responses, then share our writing. He loved to compete and have Gran judge the best piece. In his innocence, he didn’t realize she could tell who wrote what! Amazing how he always won!
- Students can take part in their school newspaper or literary magazine, a great place to practice writing, get published (and experience a dose of local fame!), and share with other writers.
- Razzle Dazzle Writing by Melissa Forney is an excellent writers’ handbook for adding pizazz to the works of young and experienced writers alike.
Christa Riddle, All About Writing, Howell, NJ, www.allaboutwritingconsulting.com