To develop important writing skills, it is important for children to start early. Frustration or lack of interest may shut them down to learning in the future. This is where parents can help at home. Follow these tips to help your children build writing skills that they will use throughout their educational career.
Provide a place for your child to write:
The writing area should be quiet and well lit. Stock this area with supplies such as paper, pencils, and crayons. You can also gather family photos and magazines and place them in the area so they can be used as story starters.
Read, read, read:
The best activity to improve writing is reading. If your child reads good books, he/she will be a better writer. Reading exposes students to general vocabulary, word study, and content-specific vocabulary. Through reading, students see a variety of authors’ techniques that they can use in their own writing.
Provide authentic writing opportunities for your child:
Look for opportunities for purposeful writing at home, and encourage your child to read and write letters to family, grocery lists, messages, postcards, thank-you notes, and party invitations.
Be a writing role model:
Make sure that your child sees you reading and writing. It is recommended that you also write when your child writes. You can schedule a day of the week that you will turn off the television and/or other distractions and share your writing.
Always ask your child questions when he/she writes. Ask specific questions about your child’s writing: How did that happen? How did that make you feel? Can you tell me more about …? What are some other words you could use to describe …?
Encourage your child to embrace the concept of revision:
Sit down with your child and read through his/her writing together. Make your child circle grammatical mistakes. Before making corrections, have your child tell you what he/she should have done differently.
It is helpful to point out errors now and then, but if your child thinks you always look for what’s wrong, he/she will not want to share his/her writing with you.
Publish your child’s writing:
Share your child writing with others, place it on the refrigerator, or encourage your child to write for kids’ magazines. When your child’s writing is published in a children’s book, he/she will be on the way to becoming a lifelong writer and author. (Refer to Stone Soup for publishing children’s work.)