Some children enjoy spending hours on end writing paragraphs and stories, but others absolutely dread it. They may have great ideas but struggle to express them on paper. Yet as students move through school, the writing demands will only continue to increase. Help make writing fun for your child with the ideas detailed below.
Playing word games with your child can help improve spelling, vocabulary, and overall writing skills. Try playing the popular game Scrabble, where players use letters on tiles to form words that build on each other. Hangman is another fun game, where one player thinks of a word and writes a series of blank spaces on a sheet of paper, each representing a letter. The other player must guess the letters one at a time until they come up with the word (or get “hanged”). You can play story games with your child, where you provide your child with a story that contains blanks for words that they must fill in or play a dice game like “Roll a Story” where players roll a series of dice that each contain a picture and uses their imagination to write a creative story.
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Encourage your child to maintain a journal and write in it daily or almost daily, and you will likely see a drastic improvement in her writing skills. Start by taking your child to a store and letting her pick out a journal with cool, colorful patterns that appeal to her. Then try to do something interesting each day – whether it’s taking a trip to the zoo or a park, or simply discussing a current events topic or trying a new food for dinner. Then encourage your child to write about that topic in her journal. Tell her not to worry about perfect spelling or organization; the idea is just to write freely. Later you can teach her to go back and self-check her work with an acronym like COPS, which stands for Capitalization, Organization, Punctuation, and Spelling, where she writes a check box next to each letter in COPS (written vertically) and checks for each element in the acronym, one by one. For starters, though, just have her focus on writing freely and creatively.
Create a Writing Jar
Create a fun “writing jar” filled with story prompts. To do so, look through newspapers and magazines with your child and cut out interesting pictures of animals, celebrities, or beautiful vacation spots. You can also write down phrases on small cards, like “If I were an animal, I’d be…” or “My favorite dessert is…” and put those cards in the jar. Then have your child close his eyes, pick a card from the jar, and use it as a story prompt to create a writing piece. You may want to have him self-check his work, just like with the journal entries, using COPS as detailed above.
Most of us prefer to text or email friends and relatives since it seems so much faster and more efficient. Yet creating handwritten letters can improve writing skills, and it’s exciting for the recipient to receive an actual letter in the mail – a real novelty these days. Purchase colored pens or pencils, stamps, and stickers for your child, and have her write a letter to a cousin, grandparent, aunt, uncle, friend, or even pen pal, then decorate it with lots of colors, pictures, and stickers. Make it a fun, colorful activity and she will have lots of fun doing it – plus the recipient will be thrilled to receive it!
Try an App!
We all know that kids love playing on tablets or computers, so try integrating writing apps and games to help improve writing skills. The app Writing Challenge for Kids includes a variety of prompts that kids can choose from to write a creative story. “Book creator” is a tool that helps students write their own books using different templates and designs. “Edublogs” is a great website that helps your child get into blogging! Kids can create their own blog on a topic that interests them and can share it with others. “Net Rover” is another website that contains lots of fun writing games for kids to play.
Writing is a wonderful opportunity for expression and a key skill that is critical for school success. Help your child improve her writing skills while having fun with these tips, and she will be well on her way to school success!
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