Sunday, September 6, 2015

Easy Tips for Teaching Writing

Writing is more important than ever. Have you noticed that computers are forcing more and more of us to write? Just when you were beginning to think that writing wasn’t really very necessary! 
Now, lots of parents will acknowledge that writing is important. After all, they were made to slog through all sorts of reports in school and turn in mindless book reports. But when it comes to actually teaching it, gadzooks! Oh my goodness! What shall we do???? It suddenly sounds very mysterious and forbidding.

No Mystery About It
You may have noticed that my daughters write. They actually enjoy it. One mom asked me my method for teaching Heather and Raquelle to write. I told her, it comes down to just two words. Make them! That’s it. Just make them write. Regularly. Whether they want to or not.

Speaking and Reading Help
One of the best ways that you can help your children write well is to speak correctly, read aloud often, and give them good books to read. Writing is merely a tool for communicating. If your family practices articulate communication and reads regularly, you are actually practicing handling the English language. If your kids are speaking and reading it well, then it follows that with regular practice they can write it also. So much for writing being mysterious. 

On the other hand, if a child is allowed to grunt his or her way through the day and watch a lot of TV or videos with a minimum of adult communication, then they are being hampered in learning to write. Reading, speaking, and writing all dovetail together to form communication.

Create Fun Reasons to Write
One of the best ways to encourage writing is to give your children practical reasons to write. Letters, whether email or snail mail, are a perfect example of a practical outlet. Have them write to friends, relatives, or even government officials. 

When our girls first began writing, we would orally compose a letter to their grandma, then I would hand print this for them. They would then copy what I wrote so that they could begin understanding how to compose and write a letter. We used the same procedure for writing thank you notes. 

Of course, they can also make birthday cards and Christmas cards and write sentiments in them. You can even write back and forth amongst your family right there at home and read each others’ letters at a special time set aside for this. Regardless of what they wrote, our girls were writing for a real person and not just a dry, dull textbook. Writing to grandma was much more motivational than writing to nobody. It helped that grandma would write back and commend them on their letter writing.

Writing Assignments
When our daughters were about 10 years old and could write fairly well, I assigned "Writing" once a week in a special writing notebook. This once-a-week assignment was in addition to continuing to write letters, cards, etc. I didn’t especially care what the topic was, but they had to write at least a good paragraph. We discussed what the topic was going to be. When they finished, they had to read it aloud to me and their sister. I would also look this over for writing errors. Sometimes they would have to re-write portions because spelling and grammar were too messy to ignore. I gave them more leeway regarding corrections in the writing notebook because I wanted them to focus on getting their thoughts on paper. Letters and notes had to be done correctly and were not sent out until they were right.

Whatever method you might choose in teaching your child to write, the most important focus is that they actually write. There are many good programs for helping a parent teach. But if you have a good sense of the flow of our language and can write reasonably yourself, you may not need a program at all. The tool you use to teach writing isn’t as important as making sure that the skill is practiced regularly. Writing isn’t nearly as mysterious as it sounds, so relax. Your children aren’t going to be ruined because you didn’t find the perfect curriculum.

Just write. 

Written by Holly Sheen