It’s no secret that inspiring kids to read is much easier than inspiring them to write. Case in point: I begin every school year with a quick survey: I ask the students to give me a thumbs-up if they read independently (meaning by choice; without being required to do so by a teacher or adult). Most thumbs go up.
I then ask for a thumbs-up from those who write independently. Zero thumbs. Always.
This is a huge problem that cannot be understated. Without independent writing practice, a child’s skills won’t improve. Schools and teachers cannot possibly hope to raise the bar on language arts skills without rigorous practice on the part of the students.
Here is a list of ten ways that parents can help. It’s important to note that writing skills development begins with putting pen to paper. Texting, Tweeting, and social media messaging in general do not count as formal writing practice.
Ideas to build your child’s writing skills. Your child does each of these suggestions:
1. Make a list of friends and family you haven’t seen in a while.
2. Create and keep a handwritten address book that includes people in suggestion #1.
3. Write handwritten letters and mail them to the people in #1.
4. When traveling/on vacation, write and mail postcards.
5. Make a list of people your child wants to invite to their birthday party.
6. Get the mailing addresses, then write & mail the invitations.
7. After the party, write & mail thank-you cards.
8. Help parents write to-do & shopping lists (yes, lists are a form of pre-writing!).
9. Practice cursive handwriting. Print out worksheets from free, online sources. A starting goal is for your child to be able to sign their name in script.
10. Keep a Journal/Diary in a composition or spiral bound notebook.
Let me know what you think about these ideas. And please share any successful strategies you use in your own home to boost your child’s language arts skills.