The following is a guest post by Laurie Zupan Smilowitz, M.F.A., author of Writer, Writer, Words on Fire. This post is not sponsored.
Soccer Practice, Music Lessons, Homework, and Writing too? Yes!
by Laurie Zupan Smilowitz, M.F.A.
It’s never been more important for our young children to learn how to communicate well. Think of all the ways we use writing. In addition to job applications, reports, letters, notes, and work-related projects there are emails, e-books, text messages, blogs, and social-networking sites, just to name a few. The ways we deliver writing to each other may change. But the need for effective writing stays the same.
Chances are that you are super busy making sure your child gets his homework done, gets to soccer practice, or music lessons on time. How can you fit writing help in too?
Don’t worry! It’s surprisingly easy to help your child write effectively. It doesn’t take much time, and it’s worth the effort.
An easy way to start teaching kids writing is to make writing a bigger part of your every day life.
Try having your child be in charge of keeping the grocery list. Tape paper on the refrigerator. Have your young writer list items as they run out. When you take the list to the store, he can help you find the items. Don’t worry if he uses his letter sounds to spell chicken soup like this: chikin soop. If you can read it say, “Great! I see you’re using the letter sounds you know to write the words.” If you can’t read it then ask him to read it to you.
Leave short notes for your young writer. Put them in her lunch, on her pillow, or on the bathroom mirror. Make sure to leave blank ones out so that she can write one to you or other family members.
Try putting up a large calendar in a central location in your home. Encourage your young writer to add important events in the box for the date, such as First Day of School, Grammy’s birthday, shop for school clothes. Encourage all of your family members to add dates of important activities. Refer to it often.
Make a special place to display your child’s writing. As you put in new pieces of writing, notice how the writing is changing and improving. Are there periods now? Did he use some new spelling words in his writing? Are there spaces consistently now? Compliment your young writer on his growth!
These small changes can have a big payoff. The more your child sees how fun and functional writing can be, the more he will want do it. And the more he writes, the more he will want to make sure his reader understands his message. This is how you begin to help your young writer to build passion and writing skills. Have fun!
Laurie Zupan is a parent, writer, and educator. Writer, Writer, Words on Fire: Fun and Easy Ways to Ignite Your Child’s Passion and Writing Skills is full of tons of concrete examples that are explained in enthusiastic and easy-to-understand language. Each of the chapters is short enough to be read in the bits of free time that a busy parent would have available like while waiting for soccer practice to end, waiting for her turn at the dentist, or in the last quiet ten minutes of the day. Check it out at Amazon.com.