1. Have a story-filled life.

Pick a book above your child’s reading ability, or take turns reading pages in a book of his choice. When your kids are young, tell stories, the doctor’s office, or when you’re pushing the stroller. Above all, talk to your children.

  1. Recognize and celebrate early writing.

When your two-year-old scribbles and calls it his name, he’s writing. When your preschooler writes a series of letters and speaks to you what it says, he’s writing. And when your kindergartner draws a picture and adds a single word, she’s writing too. Call it that. Celebrate it!

  1. Let your child see you write.

When you’re in a rush to head out the door and are scribbling down a grocery list – and your preschooler hangs over your shoulder and asks what you’re doing – take a second. Show him. Let him watch you make lists, send e-mails, write thank you notes, and compose a note for his lunch box.

  1. Provide a great diversity of writing tools and surfaces for writing, and give your kid easy access to them.

Give your children pens, chalk, paint, and markers. Get large pads of newsprint, a chalkboard, or a dry erase board. When your kid knows her letters, put her on the computer. Make the lettering big and bright, and let her type.

  1. Create a writing space.

Set up a silent corner for your kid to write. If space is an issue, pack writing resources into a convenient container that your child can pull out at the kitchen table. Contain pens & pencils, pads of paper and covers, a notebook, and a spelling phrasebook appropriate for your child’s age.

  1. Schedule quality writing time into your day.

Don’t put writing prompt in front of your child and call that teaching writing. While prompts can serve a useful purpose, the focus of your writing time should be short mini-lessons and plenty of time for the independent write-up. What’s a mini-lesson? Here are just a few examples:

  1. a) Teach your kid how to streeetch out a word and write its sounds.
  2. b) Teach your kid how to brainstorm writing ideas.
  3. c) Teach your kid to re-read her work after she’s written it.

Give your kid writing time as often as you can. Would one book a week help your child love to read? Neither would one writing sit promote a love of writing. If your kid is resistant, use your finest judgment. But keep in mind that recurrent writing develops the routine of writing. I think that three days a week of 20-40 minutes (depending on age) is better than five days of just 10 minutes a day.

 

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