Post by Mandie:
If you have a hesitant writer like I do, I’d like to share a few tips on how to teach your child to write and enjoy it, too! Here are five simple steps I use with my son and have had a lot of success with:
1. Head to the library and let your child pick out some books on a topic he or she would like to know more about–making it interest led learning. Then, cuddle up on the couch together and read the afternoon away! My son chose to study blimps.
2. I love to use the hamburger method as a graphic organizer to help get thoughts organized and jot ideas down. The bun is the topic–make sure the topic is mentioned at both the beginning and ending. Then, there can be as many details or insides to the burger as you’d like. It takes a whole three seconds to hand draw this. Brainstorm and write ideas down together, summarizing favorite details or facts.
3. Let your child write! If this is the first time using this method, I suggest you model and write, showing your child how to take a one or two word idea from the organizer and turn it into a sentence. I check off details from the organizer as we write. In the beginning we think of ways to “hook” the reader, such as asking a question. Then, in the middle, we make our writing interesting with details and adjectives. I teach how the ending can wrap up the piece, sometimes with emotion or a quick summary.
4. Show your child how to take a piece of writing and edit it. Revise it together to make it even better. I give lots and LOTS of praise and pick ONE age appropriate skill for my child to work on. It could be a focus on capital letters, spacing, ending punctuation or figurative language. In this case, I showed my son to write in between the margin lines.
Next, have your child correct his or her work. Keeping it to one skill doesn’t crush his little spirit after all his hard work, yet he is always improving! You could even keep a running list (or Editor’s Checklist) of the one skill worked on and refer to it each time your child writes, reviewing what should be included in the assignment.
5. Here’s the fun part… extensions! Your child could illustrate the topic, create a craft, do a science experiment, or even just watch a clip on the topic. Have your child share his or her hard work with someone else, reading aloud his or her writing and showing off his or her creations!