Do you have a child who struggles to find the motivation to write, or do you have a child who relishes writing, who composes stories, and scribbles away in a journal? Understanding how your child learns about and masters the aspects of writing can help you assist them in building their writing skills.
What matters most in writing are the words, sentences, and ideas, not spelling and punctuation.
Perfection in writing develops slowly. Be patient. When you look at your child’s writing, show more interest in the content, not the errors. Recognize that for every mistake a child makes, he or she does many things right. Applaud your child’s thoughts, word choices, and ideas.
Ask to see your child’s writing, either the writing brought home or the writing kept in folders at school.
Show your child that you are interested in what they have to say and encourage the use of writing journals and folders, both at home and at school. Journals and Folders are important means for helping parents, teachers, and children see progress in writing skill. As a rule of thumb, most writing should be kept, not thrown away.
Good literature is a great way to learn how to write.
We learn to write by writing, and we also learn to write by reading! The works of talented children’s authors give us a guide not only for ideas but also for the skills involved in writing so help your child to pay special attention to the language, words, and organization that an author uses in his/her books. For some outstanding children’s books, check out our Pinterest board, Books We Love.
A wide variety of writing is critical to an effective writing program.
Expect your child to be writing letters, lists, stories, poems, and essays for a variety of purposes (to inform, persuade, describe, etc.), and for a variety of audiences (other students, teachers, friends, strangers, relatives). Pay attention to opportunities for your child to be involved in writing, for example, helping with grocery lists, adding notes to a calendar, sending holiday and birthday cards, writing phone messages, etc.
Let children see you write often.
You’re both a model and a teacher. If children never see adults write, they gain an impression that writing occurs only at school. What you do is as important as what you say. Have children see you writing notes to friends or letters to businesses. From time to time, read aloud what you have written and ask your children their opinion of what you’ve said. If it’s not perfect, make changes aloud so that your child sees that making revisions is a natural step in writing.
The more interest you show in the work your child brings home from school, the more encouraged they will feel to work harder toward their writing goals. Hang up pieces of writing on the fridge, around the house, or in a special “writing corner” that you set up for your child. Always praise and ask questions about your child’s writing, and be sure to ask your child’s teacher for ways you can support their learning at home!
Download this article as a Tip Sheet to put up on your refrigerator!