The Write Stuff

School |

Some kids are natural-born writers. From the time they learn how to print their ABCs, they’re constantly badgering you to spell words for them so they can write a story or send off a letter to Grandma and Grandpa.

Others are far less enthusiastic when it comes to writing, viewing it as some cruel and unusual punishment that ranks even lower than cleaning their room.

If you’re looking for ways to encourage a reluctant writer to write, here are a few ideas:

Get your child involved in a research project that involves writing. For example, if your family is planning a family vacation to Washington, D.C., ask him to make a list of all the attractions he’d like to visit while you’re in the area. Similarly, if you’re shopping around for a new computer, give your child the brochures for the various models you’re considering and ask her to make a list of the pros and cons of each computer system.

Encourage your child to send email or to write letters to far-off friends and relatives. Help him to come up with ideas to write about: Something funny that happened on the way to school, the new trick he taught the family dog, or his latest accomplishments on the sporting front.

Encourage your child to write a script for an episode of his favorite TV show. Tell her that the sky’s the limit: she can make the characters do and say anything she wants.

If your child enjoys cooking, encourage him to create a family cookbook. If he’s a hockey or baseball fanatic, encourage him to write sportscaster-style reports about each game that he watches on TV or to write the copy for his own baseball cards.

Give your child a journal to record the events of their daily life. To help get the process going, set a timer for five minutes and have them “free write” whatever comes to their mind.

The best way to encourage your children to write is to make it fun and to give them a break from the drudgery of the structured writing they may do in school. Let your kids know that these writing exercises are the perfect opportunity for them to express themselves without fear of making mistakes. Your child may not develop a passion for writing overnight, with a little luck and persistence on your part, your child will be well on the way to improving his or her writing skills.