There are so many ways for kids to express themselves through writing: stories, poems, plays, letters, greeting cards. Children can be so proud of their finished product. You can praise a child for what he or she has written and watch that child light up in delight over writing something totally his or her own and getting positive attention for it.
Read a child’s writing with care. You may learn something that you did not know about each kid who is writing. It is rough getting started, but once the writing is underway, kids take pride in their work and you can see by their faces that they are experiencing the thrill of seeing their work in print.
Start with encouraging them to write about what they know best. Many kids like to illustrate their writing and this visual exercise also helps them add details to their writing once they see them in the picture they have drawn.
Here are some additional tips:
-Talk to them about letting their thoughts and ideas flow.
– Encourage kids to draw a picture or diagram to generate ideas, as a pre-writing activity, so that their ideas flow and their elaboration follows.
– Avoid jumping in to correct grammar, spelling, and capitalization. Those important elements can be addressed later, after that flow of thinking is down on paper.
– Praise them for what they do right. It is rare that a kid doesn’t get excited about genuine praise and encouragement.
– Point out a particular sentence of interest and say, “Tell me more.” Kids often struggle with elaboration, but this “Tell me more” prompt can start the flow of ideas once again.
-Show them ways to “publish” their work by keeping a journal in an attractive book or by making their very own bound book to hold in their hands and share with others.
– Work with each writer to help them create a cover as well as a title page with their name as the author. You may even want them to include a copyright! This bound book is now a keepsake or the first in a series of books for this budding author.
“To me, the greatest pleasure of writing is not
what it’s about, but the music the words make.”
Doesn’t Truman Capote’s quote capture what good writing is all about? Words coming across like music to our ears!
You have the power to help kids get excited about writing so that they, too, can hear the music in what they read and in what they are able to write.
Stand back and watch their enthusiasm for writing flow.