Parents can use everyday activities to promote the lifelong skill of writing. Children can be taught how to write at a very early age by showing them that writing is a form of communication like talking. Children learn to read and write by being exposed to words through conversation and literature. Reading stories to your child is a motivational force that could inspire them to want to write.
•tTeach your child to recognize the letters of the alphabet by reading alphabet books.
•tWrite your child’s name on the door of their bedroom or on the refrigerator so he or she can look at it often.
•tHave your child pick out the letters in books, signs and other printed materials.
•tLet your child scribble and draw.
•tTeach your child to print first and write in cursive later.
•tBeginning with lines and shapes, encourage your child children to draw.
•tTeach them to write their own name.
•tPractice handwriting. Copy letters, words, and sentences.
•tClearly label everyday items. Teach them the word. Then practice writing the word.
•tRead stories to your child.
•tHave children read the stories back to you.
•tLet your child tell you stories.
•tWrite the stories they tell you.
Learning to write is a process that can begin when your child is a toddler. To help your child with writing, help build his or her fine motor skills and recognize letters and words. Once children know how to hold a pen, you as a parent can begin teaching your child how to write. Age appropriate books should be easily accessible and reading time should be encouraged throughout the day. Children begin to learn how to write simple things such as their name and other small words in kindergarten.
•tHave fun with writing. Have your child trace letters accurately. Make this a huge deal.
•tMake up stories with your child and you can write them down.
•tHave children write short stories.
•tHave your child write cards and notes on holidays and birthdays.
•tHave your children make up alternative endings to their favorite books or stories. Ask what if and what would happen if questions. Have them write the alternative ending.
•tHave them read stories they have never read before and write book reports about the story.
•tPlay word games to lengthen and strengthen the attention span of your child. This will increase vocabulary and desire to write.
•tHave your child write about someone they know
•tTalk about what the person will do in the story.
•tAsk your child questions: “What happens?” “What do you think?”
•tHave your child write the story.
Encourage writing by purchasing fun pens and pencils that children may find interesting. Buy notebooks that fill the same purpose. After you have presented your child with a fun pen and notebook, have them write notes, letters and lists. The aim is to get the child to write either letters or stories, so they will enjoy writing.
Middle and High School
•tHave your child gather information by interviewing someone in your family or your neighborhood.
•tChoose questions, together, for the interview.
•tHave your child edit the interview and put the information in order.
•tRead the interview back to the person.
•tHave your child make lists, take down messages, and write notes.
•tPlay charades, scrabble, and do crossword puzzles, together.
•tTalk about why people write. Let them know people tell stories about events and other people when writing.
Children can prepare the grocery list or write a letter to their friends or relatives or start a diary. Encourage your child to read daily. Discuss what they have read at school. Talk about subjects that interest them. Have them write about those interests and share it with you. Don’t criticize, just listen.
To discover other ways to help your child learn, read Parent Power published by the U.S. Department of Education.