Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Guest Post Wed: Tips for Encouraging Kids to Write Well

Facebook, Twitter, text messages, emails… all of these different communication forums have greatly increased our ability to connect and communicate with others, but they’ve also done our kids a huge disservice. Instead of focusing on well-written sentences and utilizing strong vocabulary, they’ve downplayed the necessity of writing and writing well, encouraging shorthand and poor sentence structure to get a message across to others in as few characters as possible. It’s no surprise that this type of poor writing has translated into how kids approach writing at school, and it’s up to us, as parents, teachers and caregivers, to encourage children to write and write well. We can do so by:

1.       Encouraging them to keep a journal. Starting at a very young age, encourage kids to keep a journal or diary that details their daily happenings. Getting into the habit of putting pen to paper every day can help foster a love of writing and translate into writing much more than just their journal entries. Write with them and show them how to turn ordinary occurrences into fantastic stories through word usage and descriptions.

2.       Making a game out of creating short stories. Kids are notorious for coming up with wild, far-fetched ideas, and love to share them with anyone who is willing to listen. When you hear your child begin to ramble off another incredible tale, challenge them to make a short story out of it. Likewise, when something funny, interesting, or bizarre happens when the two of you are together, make a game where each of you writes a story about the event and then swap stories to see the differences in how each of you perceived it. This is a great way to interact with your kids and encourage them to really expand their writing skills.

3.       Creating a scrapbook together. Scrapbooking is a great way to meld both writing and photography together, as well as spend some quality time with your kids. As you place the photos onto the scrapbook pages, come up with a few paragraphs together to describe the memories from each photo and add some text to the pages.

4.       Having word swap competitions. When your kids use basic words to describe people, places, and things, challenge them to come up with better descriptors in place of the more common word they originally used. e HHeagaergafgdfagadHelp them brainstorm words that describe what they’re talking about but are “better” than the typical words used. This will help them expand their vocabulary and learn to branch out with their word choices. Once they begin to use these types of words more regularly they’ll naturally start to implement them into their writing as well.

5.       Reading to them on a daily basis. One of the best ways that you can encourage writing well is to read to your kids on a daily basis and help them develop an appreciation of the written word. Read everything from fantasy to mystery to nonfiction, exposing them to a wide variety of writing skills and approaches. Ask them what kind of writing appeals to them the most and encourage them to emulate their favorite writers’ styles in their own writing.

About the Author:

This guest post is contributed by Debra Johnson, blogger and editor of She welcomes your comments at her email Id: - jdebra84 @

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