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    Ideas for Parents: How to Help Your Child Become a Stronger Writer

    What You Can Use:

    • Pencils, crayons, or markers
    • Yarn or ribbon
    • Writing paper or notebook
    • Cardboard or heavy paper
    • Construction paper
    • Safety scissors

     

    Provide a place
    It's important for your child to have a good place to write, such as a desk or table with a smooth, flat surface. It's also crucial to have good lighting.

    Provide the materials
    Provide plenty of paper (lined and unlined) and things to write with, including pencils, pens, and crayons.

    Brainstorm
    Talk with your child as much as possible about her ideas and impressions, and encourage her to describe people and events to you.

     Encourage the child to draw and to discuss her drawings
    Ask your child questions about her drawings such as:

    "What is the boy doing?"

    "Does the house look like ours?"

    "Can you tell a story about this picture?"

    Show an interest in, and ask questions about, the things your child says, draws, and may try to write.

    Ask your child to tell you simple stories as you write them down
    Copy the story as your child tells it, without making changes. Ask her to clarify anything you don't understand.

    Encourage your child to write her name
    Practice writing her name with her, and point out the letters in her name when you see them in other places (on signs, in stores, etc.). She may start by only writing the first few letters of her name, but soon the rest will follow.

    Use games
    There are numerous games and puzzles that help children with spelling while increasing their vocabulary. Some of these may include crossword puzzles, word games, anagrams, and cryptograms designed especially for children. Flash cards are fun to use too, and they're easy to make at home.

    Turn your child's writing into books
    Paste her drawings and writings on pieces of construction paper. For each book, make a cover out of heavier paper or cardboard, and add special art, a title, and her name as author. Punch holes in the pages and cover, and bind the book together with yarn or ribbon.

     

     

    Things to remember


    Allow time
    Help your child spend time thinking about a writing project or exercise. Good writers often spend a lot of time thinking, preparing, and researching before starting to write. Your child may dawdle, sharpen a pencil, get papers ready, or look up the spelling of a word. Be patient — this may all be part of her preparation.

    Respond to your child's writing
    Respond to the ideas your child expresses verbally or in writing. Make it clear that you are interested in what the writing conveys, which means focusing on "what" the child has written rather than "how" it was written. It's usually wise to ignore minor errors, particularly at the stage when your child is just getting ideas together.

    Praise your child's writing
    Take a positive approach and find good things to say about your child's writing. Is it accurate? Descriptive? Original? Creative? Thoughtful? Interesting?

    Avoid writing for your child
    Don't write a paper for your child that will be turned in as her work, and don't rewrite your child's work. Meeting a writing deadline, taking responsibility for the finished product, and feeling ownership of it are also important parts of the writing process.

    Help your child with her writing as she gets older
    Ask your child questions that will help her clarify the details of her stories and assignments as they get longer, and help her organize her thoughts. Talk about the objective of what she is writing.

    Provide your child with spelling help when she's ready for it
    When your child is just learning how to read and write, she may try different ways to write and spell. Our job is to encourage our children's writing so they will enjoy putting their thoughts and ideas on paper. At first, your child may begin to write words the way that she hears them. For example, she might write "haf" instead of "have", "frn" instead of "friend", and "Frd" instead of "Fred." This actually is a positive step in developing her phonemic awareness. Keep practicing with her, and model the correct spelling of words when you write. As your child gets older and begins to ask more questions about letters and spelling, provide her with the help she needs.

    Practice, practice, practice
    Writing well takes lots of practice, so make sure your child doesn't get discouraged too easily. It's not easy! Give her plenty of opportunities to practice so that she has the opportunity to improve.

    Read together
    Reading and writing support each other. The more your child does of each, the better she will be at both. Reading can also stimulate your child to write about her own family or school life. If your child has a particular favorite story or author, ask her why she thinks that story or that person's writing is special.

    As you read and write more with your child, you will be building an important foundation, and taking steps that will help your child to become a better reader, writer, and student. Your efforts now will make a difference — and it may be just the difference that your child needs to succeed!

     
Last Modified on August 7, 2019