Teaching our children to write well is just another way of
helping them to better communicate their thoughts and ideas to the
greater world. Here are some simple, fun ideas for helping your
children put the pencil to paper (or fingers to the keyboard!).
Pre- and early readers
Ask your children to help you write your grocery list. Help
pre-readers to write the first letter of the item needed, and then
fill in the rest together. At the store, ask your child to read the
list for you.
Why spend money on expensive greeting cards when you can create
your own? Gather colored pencils, markers and some fun cardstock
paper. Ask your children to personalize simple messages and address
Gather pictures cut out from magazines or draw your own on
heavier stock paper and make a homemade storybook. For smaller
tots, make an alphabet book by writing a letter and gluing on a
representative picture for each letter of the alphabet. Or create a
book of seasonal words with accompanying pictures, such as a Spring
Word Book with pictures of an umbrella, a tulip, etc.
Create a family scrapbook. Archive photos and mementos and ask
your children to write the commentary. Visit any craft store for an
amazing array of add-ons, borders and punch-out letters (perfect
Middle and high schoolers
Give a gift of a beautiful journal every birthday and encourage
your child to record the day's thoughts over the course of a year.
Share some readings from published journals (for introspective
entries, check out Diary of a Young Girl, by Anne Frank or Zlata's
Diary, by Zlata Filipovic; for fun, check out the Diary of a Wimpy
Kid series by Jeff Kinney). Some children may appreciate a journal
with a lock to keep snooping little brothers and sisters at
Visit canteach.ca for a great list of writing
prompts, perfect for the child who has a difficult time coming up
with journaling topics.
Apricotpie.com is a Web site where children can share and
discuss self-written stories and poems with other children.
Encourage an e-mail pen pal friendship with a long distance
relative or a friend who has moved away to another city. Or check
out penpalnet.com to find an
overseas pen pal.
Encourage your child to join the school newspaper or yearbook
It's so easy to get started with a blog. Add pictures and video
to personalize your topic. Establish privacy settings to make sure
your child keeps his identity safe. blogspot.com and
wordpress.com are good places to start.
Writer's Digest offers a thought-provoking daily writing prompt
to help budding writers get their juices flowing at writersdigest.com.
Your children could write their first novel in a month by
taking part in NaNoWriMo's annual writing extravaganza. Receive
support and encouragement as you write a 50,000-word novel from
scratch in a month's time. Be sure to "publish" your child's first
novel in hardcover format. Better yet, take part in the event as a
family, each writing your own novel, and celebrate with a book
release party when you've completed this challenging yet exciting
Amy Bizzarri is a mom of two living in Logan Square. She also blogs at tiramisumom.com.