Saturday, June 12, 2010

Motivating Children to Write

Encouraging my two-and-a-half-year-old son to write isn’t a problem. Encouraging him to express himself on paper, rather than on the walls, is the issue in my household. But once the act of writing is mastered and scribbling becomes meaningful composition, how do parents motivate their child to write more?

Having a fresh supply of writing materials (i.e., crisp paper, colorful writing instruments, and reference books) can be helpful. After all, who can resist the temptation to mark up that stark white paper? However, the most critical factor in motivating children to write is to help them become aware of the many writing opportunities right at home. Keeping a journal, having a pen pal, or creating a family newsletter are just a few ways writers can find inspiration. Making children aware that writing doesn’t always have to be the result of a school assignment is essential.

Encourage your child to share selected writings with you, but realize that they may wish to keep some pieces private. Bear in mind that your feedback should be thoughtful and constructive. For children to become confident writers, they need to be assured that their parents support their efforts.

Some other suggestions for inspiring your young writer:

Read it all here.


poetreader said...

I think a major key to bringing kids to write is to help them to think. One finds what they are interested in and encourages them to talk about it -- to think and imagine aloud -- and one listens with obvious interest. When a child (or older person, for that matter) comes to realize that he or she has something to say, the realization dawns that there is something to write. Without that, good writing cannot come to be.

I received that kind of encouragement from the mother of some school chums when I was 6 (she was the first adult ever to treat me as an equal friend -- and from my grandmother, and these two women made a difference that still remains.

A second major key is patience, limitless patience.

My sister is dyslexic. We found her major interest and encouraged her to talk about it. She became a gifted storyteller and could hold us spellbound. it took 30 years of encouragement to get her to start writing down what she had been telling, but patience is rewarded. She is now writing delightful short prose and poetry, and even reading her own work publicly.

encourage - listen - appreciate - wait - these seem to me more important than all the rest, though there are certainly many other helpful things to be done.


Alice C. Linsley said...

I totally agree!

These are the ingredients to make writing possible. The rest is, these sorts of exercises, are just that exercises.