Brighten Youth Education Centre

 

 

Writing tips for youngsters

 

There are some points that we are never going to get tired of making, and one of those points is that books have an incredible transformative power. They are also your first point of call if you want your child to write well. Good writing begins in good reading, so make sure you read to your child every night. When they are old enough, you can reverse the roles, but be sure to ask your children questions about their opinions, or about their favourite books in general. It is important to actually be present in that moment, not thinking of a hundred unaccomplished tasks (difficult, we know). The aim is to create a lifelong obsession with the written word and a positive reinforcement loop with reading and writing.

If you child happens to finish a book they didn’t enjoy, perhaps because it had a poor ending, you have an excellent opportunity for a creative writing exercise. Get your child to rewrite the ending of the story, or rewrite the whole thing if they really didn’t like it. Free writing exercises are much more important than things like grammar drills. They’re fun, they foster creative thought and they give children the opportunity to use the new words reading should help them learn. When you read the story back, you now have the opportunity to correct grammar in a far more natural setting. However, it’s important to resist rewriting the story yourself. That destroys confidence and really, it’s not your story anyway. Perhaps asking questions about why your child has chosen to phrase something in a particular way might clear up any conceptual difficulties. The more interest you can create around your child’s stories the better as it teaches them that their opinions and ideas are valid, although you don’t need to resort to universal praise. It’s not necessarily helpful to give every child a medal just for turning up. Think about displaying your child’s work too, or encouraging them to show their teachers or other members of the family when they come to visit.

It’s also important to make time to write every day. Journaling is a great way to do this. Investing in some pretty stationary is a good idea too, so the physical act of writing can be enjoyable, particularly if you chose the stationary together on a family day out. Age-appropriate dictionaries and thesauruses are another vital edition, and teach your child to use them. No apps. It might seem difficult to create this time for creative writing, but there are possibilities. If you regularly need to bring work home with you, why not let your child work alongside you? If anything they will enjoy time in your company and learn the skill of quiet concentration.

 

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