14 Ways to Improve Your Child's

Writing Skills

1.  Encourage your child to keep a journal or a diary. Give a book with blank pages as a gift. Help your child pick out a special pen. Then encourage her to put thoughts and feelings on paper.

2.  Write notes or shopping/To Do lists, and have your child do the same.

 3.  Have your child draw a picture, before writing, and then ask your child to tell you about the picture. Prompt for details to get them thinking about what they will write about. 

4.  Encourage your child to think through how his story will end in order to avoid getting stuck mid-story. Once he knows the beginning and the end, the middle will write itself.

5.  Have your child use a graphic organizer, before writing. This will help them to organize their ideas and get the details flowing.

6.  Tell them not to worry about spelling- just to get their thoughts on the paper. You can always go back and edit later.

7.  If handwriting is a struggle, try allowing them to type on the computer.

8.  Keep a running list of writing ideas that they are interested in, so that they can go back to at a later time when they say "they have nothing to write about."

9.  Try not to influence their ideas, directing them toward something you "know" will work ó tempting as it may be. "Creativity and passion flow best when kids feel ownership over their writing."

10.  If your child is suffering from writer's block, let them walk away for a while and revisit the writing later.

11.  Try to do your childís writing assignment yourself. Then, when both you and your child are finished, look over each otherís work.

12.  Use email. Itís a great way to stay in touch with friends and family. (Grandparents love to hear from their grandchildren.)

13.  Read a book with your child. Then write a letter talking about what youíve read. Encourage your child to write back. This will also help your child learn to read for meaning.

14.  Timed Writing: Each night have your child speed write as much as they can (yes, it has to make sense) and see how much they can write in 5 minutes. You can tell them it can be something private, if that motivates them (you won't peek at what it says), or it can be about their day, or what they want to do that night- anything! Have them count up their words, and keep track of how many words they're writing at a time. You'll see progress immediately, and kids love to "beat their scores"!