Encourage Your Child to Write: Letters With Mom

Why is writing so important?  Writing is about thinking, creating, and expression.  When we write we are using the highest level of processing- creating.  (See Bloom’s Taxonomy).  We are bringing something into existence that wasn’t before- powerful isn’t it? It is possible to help encourage your child to write.

We all know writing is important for kids but, how do you get them to write more?  It can seem like a chore.  Encouraging a journal or diary is always a good idea, but what if they don’t want to do that.  Writing takes more effort than other things which is why you often see kids skimp out on sentences and write one word down on their homework instead of a complete thought.  How can you get them to love or at least like writing? Here is an idea to help encourage your child to write, while fostering a closer relationship with them.

As always, we are what they model themselves after.  How often do they see you writing in the home? ? Texting doesn’t count . Well, here is a fun idea that will get kids excited about writing and even give you a closer connection to them.  All you need is a spiral notebook for each child.  Start out by writing a note inside the different notebooks for each child, ask them questions, tell them something about yourself.  Then leave it on their bed.  What a lovely surprise.  When they find it see if they write you back and put it on your bed. . Or once you know they have found it say- I can’t wait to get my letter back from you!

Remember this is not about spelling and grammar, it is about practice.  It is also about strengthening a bond between you and your child.  Writing letters helps with that, it is so amazing.  Your child will feel extra special and they can re-read your letters any time they want.  You will also have a collection of letters of theirs to cherish, we all know what funny and unique things they come up with when they are young.  Try it out, have fun!  If they don’t respond immediately that’s ok, give them time and they will especially if they have a huge writer’s wall up.  It may take lots of encouragement and a few letters from you to help break that down.  It will, you are their mom and they love you just like they will love your letters. By working together, you will gain a closer relationship with each of your children, in a way that literally only takes minutes a day, and help foster an appreciation for writing with your child.

Support Writing at Home- Word Wall Wonder

Writing activity time! Help support writing at home in a fun and easy way. When I was teaching school the words “writing time” seemed to inflict actual pain in some of my students. At least that’s what they looked like. I guess it seemed overwhelming to have to write paragraphs, and pages and pages of words! However, once the students got into it they did eventually enjoy it, or they were at least proud of their final project.

What we, as parents, can do is support writing at home by participating with our kids in writing activities that show the thrill about writing.  First, let’s start with words, best place to start. Some are funny to say and get stuck on the tongue.  Some are really long or quite short. Some just make you laugh at the sound of them in a group. This activity is about creating a family word wall. Section off a space on your wall for the project, have the kids help decide where it should be.  You could put up construction paper, a magnet board, chalkboard, whiteboard, whatever works for you.  My personal favorite is writing on the fridge with a wet erase marker. Find a time when all family members can get together to talk about the wall. If you want, you can introduce this activity with a picture book- Max’s Words by Kate Banks. It is a cute book about a boy who collects words instead of other things and kids are amused by it. Tell your kids that as a family you are going to collect words.

You can choose a theme (ex. 8 letter words or words that start with T), or just let them collect whatever they want. Tell them to be on the lookout for words that are interesting to them, even if they don’t know the meaning yet. They can look all over, wherever they are. Then they need to write it down or remember it, so they can have one to add to the wall.  The kids will be searching for new and interesting words at home, and these words may even show up in their writing at school. You can have a certain time that all family members add words to the wall or just let everyone write them down when they want to. The important part is sharing which can be done every night or just a couple nights a week. Pretty soon the wall will be covered with words.

Now, this isn’t supposed to turn into a spelling bee.  I am a believer in spell check. I also believe that being a super speller is a talent akin to playing the violin. This shouldn’t be a time for anyone to be embarrassed about their spelling skills. This can maybe be prevented by encouraging the kids to look the word up and check it before writing it on the wall, or if they are younger- just giving them a little help.  When a child asks me how to spell a word I always ask, “How does it start?”. Then instead of saying letters I say the sound and encourage them to sound it out too.  Siblings can be encouraged to help each other spell the words.  One by one the wall gets filled, it looks so magnificent! Sometimes it is fun if the parents write a silly story with all of the words. Kids will love, love, love your story and you are able to support writing at home. Now, it is time to erase the wall and start again so take a picture to remember the hard work!

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