Encouraging Young Learners to Write: A guide for parents (Part 2)
Part one of the guide can be found here.
The first time I step into a new class I know I will encounter two types of children, those who love to write and those who hate it.
Writing is not something that children feel in between about.
Yet, Writing can be a valuable strategy for helping children express, not only their understanding, but their ideas, emotions, and creativity. It is for this purpose that I wanted to share with parents everywhere, how they can use writing activities at home to help their children fall in love with writing.
Bonus* Children who love writing, don’t complain when they have to write in school or on homework, so what you do with your kids at home will benefit them (and you) in many areas of life. The better they become at writing, the better they will be at reading too!
Below you will find resources, activity ideas, and feedback ideas that can be used with children developing their writing skills.
Beginning writers have two main writing goals:
- develop writing skills: letter forming, word forming etc.
- develop the skills of story telling
For the development of writing check out the previous post. Inside this post concepts of writing development are broken down into stages, mini lessons are explained, and examples of feedback are provided.
Another way activity you can do at home is Draw and Label activity. For this activity set a timer for three to five minutes and let your young learner draw (not color, color can be added later). Then take the drawing and label the sounds and letters they know.
In the above example, the child knew bear started with a B and sun started with an S so when the timer went off they labeled those. *Remember young children like to see you do it first, so don’t be afraid to try this activity too by their side!
Children who don’t know any letters yet, can learn in these mini lessons. Tell them, bear starts with b and write a b for them. Let them trace over your b and write a few of their own. Teach only one at a time (or one consistently all week for very young learners).
For storytelling, try the Read and Remember activity or Three part storytelling activity below.
How to read stories to encourage writing: Read and Remember activity– read a picture book and then list memories that that picture book makes you think of in a discussion. Then pick one of those to write down. For example, read All by myself and then talk about one of the following things your child can do all by themselves. Write about it. Read Alexander and the no good terrible bad day, and ask your child if they have had a bad day before, or what would make a bad day and write a funny story about it.
For this activity, be enthusiastic about your little learner getting a chance to tell a story by drawing pictures. You can tell them a story first and show them how to do a three-part story first. Then let them brainstorm what they want to write about. It is best to keep these real life stories of that the young kids remember. If they can’t think of one, put down the pencil and go out and make a memory together right now. Then come back later and write about it.
Once they start talking a lot, focus that energy into letting their Pen/Pencil tell the story. Give positive attention when they complete it by letting them talk your ear off all about their story, what they drew. Reinforce the idea that every story needs a beginning, a middle, and an end.
Do this by dividing the paper into a beginning, middle, and end.
Example: In this story, a young child told a story about how they watered a seed they planted. They had to give it more water and sunshine. And It began to grow. It opened and was a beautiful flower.
Give positive feedback!
Start using templates that encourage children to write under their drawings. Here some great examples of templates for writing.
Children are very good at reading what our expectations are, and only doing that much work. As your young writer begins writing more during your little sessions, move to templates that promote higher expectations with more room to write.
Later, use DIY writing books to encourage your child to write longer stories with more details. Kids love these because this looks more like what real authors do.
Paper clip a small piece of paper on the back of their writing piece with a skill or skills they mastered (like writing a beginning, middle, and end or using spaces).
Here is a full list of ideas for mini lessons to work on with your young learner at home
- Writing narrative: true stories from their point of view
- Capitalizing the beginning of a sentence
- Capitalizing names
- Writing with emotion
- Writing response to books
- Using a period at the end of a sentence
- Writing using details: what is seen, heard, or felt
Writing should be fun! Have fun, be silly, and they will fall in love with the art of storytelling through writing.