Sunday, March 15, 2015

How to improve your child’s creative writing skills

Being able to write well is vital.  Nowadays almost any job requires the skill of writing, even if only to send emails.  
Following these simple steps at home will improve your child’s creative writing skills and help make her a better writer.

1. Read with, as well as to, your child

When reading a bedtime story to your child, have your child read to you too.  Good writers are themselves well-read.  Remember, reading and writing go together.

2. Play word games

There’s lots of really good brainstorming word games out there so invest in a couple for the family. (Scrabble, Unspeakable Words, Bananagrams, Boggle, Scattegories, Mad-Libs,  and Magnetic Poetry).  A really good game to help sentence building is You’ve Been Sentenced.

3. A peaceful, quiet area

Your child should have a desk or table in a quiet designated area for writing.   Basic materials is all that’s needed -  a notebook, writing paper or journal, pen or pencil (if old enough maybe a laptop or computer).

4. Daily writing

The best way to improve writing skills is through regular practice.  Each day suggest your child write about her day at school, a recent playdate or even a favourite pet or animal. 

5. Think about a project before starting to write

Have your child talk about their storyline, structure and content.  Ask her questions about the story (“Where is the story based?"), main conflict ("What is the most important event?"), and action/resolution ("How does the lost dog find his way back home?”). If she has difficulty deciding what to write about, encourage her to think about things she likes doing (going to the beach) her interests (surfing) or  someone she admires or looks up to (her Uncle Cameron), and to base her storyline around these.

6. Write with your child

Encourage your child by sitting with her and writing yourself.  Let her know you are there to help if she asks for assistance, guide her through her problems then return back to your own writing.

7. Reviewing the work

At the end of each writing session, review her writing and politely suggest places she  could improve (e.g., "You might want to check the spelling of these cities”.)  Point out and praise her proficient writing skills.

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