How to Encourage Writing
Children Have Great Imaginations
Where to Start
When do you start your child writing? That's a big question I get asked. When they can talk is my first answer. Children should be read to from an early age, before they can walk. Let them tell you stories as their vocabulary grows.
After they have drawn you and unidentifiable picture ask them to tell you a story about it. Take down their words. Put them in large type. Read the words with them. They will tell you if you got it wrong. It's their work after all.
As they enter school they will be assigned topics to write on. They will have to have a set amount of paragraphs with a set amount of sentences. It's easier for the teach to correct that way. It's also boring reading.
Provide your child with paper and pencil for writing. Encourage them to write thank you letters for gifts from friends and family far away. Encourage them to write to grandparents. Teach them that each letter has a greeting: Dear. The news in the letter is called the body of the letter. All letters have some kind of salutation or good-bye: Love, Your friend, Sincerely, etc. Did they forget something? Letters allow for that with a post script or P.S. Be sure there is a date somewhere on it usually at the top and that your child signs it.
There are other things you can do to encourage writing. Trace your child's hand then ask them to write down all the things they can do with their hand. You will be amazed at what they come up with. If you are planning a trip, have them write about the things you do. Let them put a photo on each page.
Another thing would be to read Dr. Seuss' Oh the Places You'll Go, then trace your child's feet and ask them to write about all the places their feet will take them. It's a simple thing that gets them thinking and writing.
Let them write stories about pictures they color. Encourage them enough and they will help teach younger siblings how to write. Don't worry about spelling at early ages. Let them spell the words the way they sound. If your child asks you how to spell a word, spell it for them. You can sound it out with them and help them understand how words and sounds relate.
Children are very imaginative. If you don't think so, listen to them play. They have elaborate ideas for games they invent. Tap into that. Tell them you overheard them playing and would like them to write something about the game or the scene.
As they get old enough, teach them the keyboard on the computer. Teach them how to type their own stories. They will be excited about this and you will be preparing them for school. Limit computer time, but make the time on the computer worthwhile.
Start a story and ask your child to finish it. They will take that story places you never imagined. They will find worlds of which we as adults have forgotten. Even better do a family story where everyone contributes a sentence or two. Make sure someone writes it down.
Most of all have fun teaching your child to write. You are giving them a foundation for success.