Raise your hand if you’ve ever heard your kids say “But writing is hard.” Kids often frustrated about writing, feeling like it’s forced upon them in school, just plain boring, or that they’re not good at it. And sometimes the kids are right; writing prompts at school are not in their areas of interest and they’re evaluated for a grade, adding pressure to achieve a high academic standard. Writing is one of those skills that will never really go away. Our ability to write is a crucial communication skill, and while our kids might not end up with a writing career, this does not mean that he or she will not be asked to write on a daily basis; from an email to a co-worker to a job application, there are many times when our ability to write is super important.
Kids are super creative, imaginative, and inventive. We can encourage these skills and translate them into fun ways to motivate writing, making it an experience they might actually enjoy rather than dread.
How To Encourage Kids To Write
- Create a writing space. Let the kids get involved in brainstorming their ideal writing space, with the supplies and tools they might need in order to really settle in writing. Writing doesn’t just happen at school, so if there is a space at home where kids can focus on writing, you can help by providing some of these little creature comforts as a way of triggering some writing inspiration.
- Encourage reading. Every writer will say that one way they’ve improved as a writer is by reading other writers. Find books with content and styles that speak to your child’s interest and keep them handy. Encourage reading in ways that are not forced, even incentivize reading as a way to motivate; for every book read, an activity or treat is earned.
- Get involved in your kids’ writing. Sit down with your child and do a little partner writing. Take turns developing a story and each step along the journey. When you show you’re interested in what kids are writing, and offer positive reinforcement for good ideas, your kids will get a boost, both in esteem and inspiration.
- Encourage good spelling and grammar. Edit last. Be realistic about grammar and spelling expectations. The most important part of writing is to start getting ideas down, either with a brainstorm or a free write. Then drafting can start, but encourage kids to stay in their writing flow and then go back to edit later. Editing during the writing process can cut off ideas and disrupt writing rhythm.
- Encourage art with writing. Sometimes it can be hard to put our ideas into words, but drawing a picture can be a great way to get an idea down on paper. That image can be turned into a written description, then incorporated directly into their writing.
- Encourage kids to write about what they know. Sometimes kids feel like they just don’t know what to write about, but what they can write about is their own world. This is true for adults, too; encourage your kids to write about their own environment and the things that interest them.
- Publish their work. If your kids are able, have them type their writing and print it off to make a book. Or make photocopies of work done by your younger writers, like preschool and Pre K age kids. Display your child’s writing in a prominent place: create a board in their room or the kitchen, where your child’s work can be put on display.