Experts in Education
Developing Fluent Writers
What makes a child someone who loves to write? What makes them comfortable with words, instead of reluctant to put pen to paper? Well, it’s practice of course. These writing ideas will get your child writing in a way that is fun and exciting for them and for you. Don’t be surprised if they start writing on their own after a few of these activities.
1. Make a wonderful word jar. Whenever you read or hear a wonderful word (one that is very descriptive, new or wonderful in some other way), write it on a slip of paper and drop it in the jar. When you have filled half of the jar, have your child pick three to five words from the jar and make up a story using them.
2. Make and write their own thank-you notes. They can be simple notes made with colored paper, stickers and markers or you can create more elaborate cards by taking them to a craft store and letting them choose paper, sparkles, jewels, etc. A great time to do this writing project is Thanksgiving. Have your children pick three people they would like to thank (teacher, grandparent, neighbor) and have them write a note of appreciation to them.
3. Hire your child as a movie critic. Show your child some movie reviews online or in the newspaper. Tell them that they have been hired by you to be a new movie critic and you would like them to review a movie. Take them to see a movie or watch one at home. When they are finished, ask them to write their review based on what they liked/disliked about the movie.
4. Write letters to family members who live out of town. Children love to tell cousins, aunts and uncles what they are up to. They can even illustrate their letter. An added bonus is that the child usually receives a letter in return!
5. Go on a writing scavenger hunt. Put together a list of items you might find either on a nature walk or around the house. You can put together a specific list or set a theme such as ten blue items, or items that weigh less than a certain amount. Gather the items together and ask you child to write a story weaving in all of the items in the bag.
6. When you travel, encourage children to send postcards to their friends and family. They can even send postcards to themselves—that way, when they get home they will have a travel log of their trip!
7. Give your child stationery and pens as a gift. Choose paper and pens that match their interests and personality. They can be elaborate, colorful, subdued or linked to one of their interests. Who could resist writing with an old-fashioned quill pen or a bright green feather pen?
8. Play word games. Games like Boggle, You’ve Been Sentenced, Upwords, Balderdash, and Word on the Street provide your child an interesting and fun way to play with language. Seeing how others play with language broadens a child’s view of how language can be used.
9. Use magazine pictures as a story starter. Have your child cut out photographs of people from magazines. When they have finished, have them pick two or three of them. Write about who the people are, what their lives are like, and how they might know each other. It would also be fun to place the pictures of people in a geographic location and ask the children to write about what they are doing there.
10. Write a comic book. First have your child read lots of comics as research. Then ask them to write and illustrate their own comic. There are several online programs for making comic books if you need some help.
11. Use your newspaper. Cut out some headlines and stick them at the top of a sheet of paper. Keep an eye out for really funny headlines that you think the kids will like. If your newspaper headlines are boring, mix words from several headlines until you get something unusual. For older children you could choose political or current affairs headlines. Ask your child to write a story to go with the headline. And don’t forget that all good newspapers need pictures too!
– Write a script – write and perform a puppet show, play or animation.
– Go to a park or cafe and do some people watching. Pick some people and make quick notes about them – how did they look, what were they wearing. Then write a story about them when you get home.
– Design and write an online Blog – it seems to motivate children if their musings are to be read by lots of people.