Not all children like to write and there is a wide variety of skills and ages in which children become accomplished writers. There is help for the reluctant writer.
Here are some things you can do to help your homeschooler and other children who need writing encouragement.
1. DISPLAY YOUR CHILDREN’S WRITING. Find a special frame to showcase your child’s writing, just as you would do for artwork. Designate a cork board or spot on the refrigerator or wall for their writing.
2. AVOID THE DREADED RED MARKS. Save the dreaded red pen for another time. Red pens kill creativity and create reluctant writers. If parts of the writing are difficult to read, having children orally explain their intent.
3. SHARE YOUR FAVORITE BOOKS WITH YOUR CHLDREN. HAVE THEM SHARE THEIRS. Share your favorite poetry, lines or paragraphs with your children and have them share theirs. Print out their favorite poem, line or passage with the author or book title and hang the printouts around the house. Talk about why they love the passage and what it means to them.
4. PRACTICE WRITING. Let children practice writing out shopping lists, applications, and online orders (with supervision of course!). If the physical act of writing thank you notes tires the child with dysgraphia, let them write thank you notes by email. Have them design an e-card to go along with it.
5. HAVE THEM DICTATE STORIES. Have your child tell you a story and help them write it. Many children are creative, but getting the words to paper is what sometimes stops them. As time goes on, increase the amount of writing that your child does. Encourage them to create artwork to go along with the story or idea.
6. KEEP SUPPLIES HANDY. Keep an area for children that is stocked with writing and colored paper, envelopes, pencils and pens, crayons, stickers, and address labels. Old baskets, coffee and soup cans, and mason jars, can all be used to store supplies for writing. Purchase spiral notebooks at back to school sales to encourage the reluctant writer. Older children can complete writing on a computer if needed.
7. FIND OTHER WAYS TO WRITE. Water and paintbrushes, chalk, even painting on the back of an old building, or designated spot, can muster up some creativity. Pack up a backpack with writing supplies for long car trips, or encourage a nature journal with pictures and writing. Think outside the box. Maybe your child is into fashion design, and wants to create a portfolio of designs with descriptions. Or perhaps racecars are a favorite? Reluctant writers can work on labeling car or engine parts with drawings. Try letting your child create their own comic book with speech bubbles.
There are so many ways to help your reluctant writer through all ages and stages. Positive praise for effort, and the opportunity to take small steps will have them love writing in no time at all.