How To Help Your Child Develop Writing Skills
No matter how young kids are, they can always demonstrate differences in their writing skills. Some kindergarteners may struggle to write at least one word, while others may write a dozen words, even though some of them might be written with mistakes. If you’ve ever watched toddlers learn to talk, you may have noticed that they don’t start to talk in complete words and sentences. First, they simply try to copy sounds that they hear, and then they gradually learn to combine these sounds to turn them into words.
When kids learn to write, it happens in the same way. They need a lot of time to get from simple scribbles to letters and words. Therefore, the earlier kids start to learn writing, the sooner their writing skills will develop so that they can write comprehensive text.
First, kids need to understand some key concepts of writing. For instance, they should understand that words that they see have a meaning, that different symbols correspond to different sounds, and that words should follow each other in a particular order to become complete sentences.
Spelling also has several phases. When kids learn to speak, they may only use the first letter of a word because the whole word is too difficult to pronounce. In the same way, they may start to write fragments of words, and then improve their spelling until they eventually understand what entire words should look like. For instance, they may start spelling the word “pen” as “p,” then it may evolve to “pn,” and then it will finally become “pen.”
Obviously, the writing process includes more than just writing symbols and words. Kids should also learn to transfer their thoughts to writing in a comprehensive and logically correct way. Quite often, children may know what they want to write but spend too much of their cognitive resources on the very process of writing, trying to get every word right. Therefore, kids need to reach a certain level of fluency in transcription before they can focus on their ideas.
Why Writing Is Important
Writing, as well as reading, is one of the key activities that directly impact our children’s ability to absorb the information. If you want to homeschool your children and help them develop good writing skills, you will have to include some writing assignments in their education plan. At some point, your children will need to write coursework and term papers. Needless to say, these lengthy academic papers are much more difficult than regular essays, and if homeschoolers have yet to develop their writing skills properly, they may struggle to succeed in college or university.
Unsurprisingly, most students don’t like to write because such a process can be not only difficult but also boring. The importance of writing, however, is unquestionable, and it goes far beyond school or college. When we become a part of the workforce, we need to write resumes, business plans, all kinds of presentations, and countless documents. That is to say, the sooner your kid starts to learn to write, the more prepared they will be for all the challenges that wait for them in school and in the workplace. Besides, writing offers kids a great way of self-expression, and it’s an integral part of our everyday communication.
- Writing Is Necessary for Homeschoolers
Writing is one of the main elements of the education process. Not only do kids need to write all kinds of assignments, but they should also prove their writing skills on exams. Besides, essays are a common part of college and university applications.
- Writing is Practical
People use writing on a daily basis. Whenever you want to post something on social media or to send an email to your colleague, you have to demonstrate your writing skills.
- Writing Is Crucial for Some Professions
There are many professions that involve a lot of writing. For example, writing is a primary activity for reporters, researchers, administrators, etc. Even if your child chooses another career, they will still need to write a resume and application letter.
- Communication Is Impossible Without Writing
Written communication has been an integral part of our lives since people wrote letters and sent them to each other. Now we have the internet, but written communication hasn’t gone anywhere. We still write messages, emails, and posts on social media.
10 Tips On How To Develop Writing Skills In A Child
How parents can help with writing at home? Try these writing tips for kids to help you get your homeschoolers writing and enjoying it!
1. Make Writing Interesting
One of the main reasons why kids don’t like to write is that writing can be a quite boring process. We recommend that you consider this task from your kid’s perspective and think of how to improve your children’s writing while also making it fun and interesting. If you want your kid to put more effort into learning, you should create exciting assignments and engage them.
Creative Writing Assignment ideas:
- Show a picture and ask your kid to describe it.
- Have them write out instructions like how to make a sandwich or put on shoes.
- Have them write about animals or topics they are interested in. For instance, you may ask your kid to write a short guide on how to take care of a kitten.
2. Write With Them
The best way to teach your kid something is to show how it’s done. Try to work on writing tasks with your kid. Put yourself in your kid’s shoes and think of what makes this task difficult for them. Think aloud and comment on your actions as you write to model how to improve the writing. Write a paragraph and ask your homeschooler to write another one while helping them work through the same steps and answering their questions. This way, the learning process will become interactive and therefore more engaging and effective.
3. Use Gamification
As we’ve already mentioned above, you should try to make learning to write interesting for your children. All kids love games, and if you add a gamification element, your child will be much more likely to enjoy their studies. There are hundreds of word games and quizzes available for your homeschooling.
4. Use Phonograms
Phonograms are combinations of letters that represent a certain sound. For instance, CK sounds as /k/, and DGE at the end of a word sounds as /j/. Learning phonograms is a logical and straightforward approach to writing that makes spelling much easier.
This is a great approach if your kid struggles with spelling and reading. Most people think that the key to success is memorizing sequences of letters, but this approach is also quite difficult and not always effective. If your kid has a hard time trying to memorize words this way, you can try another approach, which is memorizing phonograms. You can find many different free printables and games online to help.
5. Create a Scrapbook
A scrapbook will not only enable your kid to save memories but also help them practice writing in an engaging way. You can use a photo album to keep some souvenirs from your family activities. For instance, these might be photos, tickets, tree leaves, etc. Ask your kid to write captions or even to describe activities associated with different objects from the scrapbook.
6. Use Short Yet Frequent Lessons
Long lessons can easily become boring and frustrating for both child and parent. Besides, it will be much easier for your homeschooler to memorize information if you divide it into bite-sized chunks. We recommend that you stick with short and fast-paced lessons to keep your child engaged. Adjust the length of lessons according to your kid’s attention span and make sure that the lessons are frequent so that your kid won’t forget what they’ve learned.
7. Encourage Reading
Reading and writing are interconnected skills. When reading, your kid can discover new words and learn to use new phrases. Thanks to reading, your kid can also learn new types of sentence structures without thinking about writing. Think of your kid’s interests and suggest books they might enjoy.
8. Suggest Copying
If you see that your kid enjoys reading a book, ask them to copy a piece of text from it. You can make it a regular task. For example, every day, your kid may rewrite a paragraph that they’ve enjoyed most so far.
9. Try Freewriting
Freewriting can boost your kid’s creativity, and it can also serve as a great self-expression tool. Obviously, freewriting also enables your kid to get more writing practice. A great way to incorporate freewriting into studies is to start a diary. Let your homeschooler write down their thoughts and experiences every evening so that they will associate writing not only with studies.
10. Provide Encouragement
It’s impossible to learn something without making mistakes. Don’t get too focused on improving your kid’s skills. Keep in mind that the learning process should be associated with positive emotions because otherwise, your kid will lose any motivation. Make sure to encourage your homeschooler and never forget to remind them that mistakes and failures shouldn’t stop them from trying.
Although learning to write can be difficult for some, writing is still a very important skill. Start early and make learning to write a fun and interesting process. Ensure that your children can get all the necessary help and encouragement from you and that you model writing skills in front of them. With these tips and approaches, your homeschoolers will learn to write easily and effectively as they grow and learn.
About the Author
Rhonda Martinez is a writer, blogger and ESL teacher. Rhonda believes that writing can help you become a better version of yourself because it improves your speaking skills and the ability to think critically. As a teacher, Rhonda is always on the lookout for new strategies to teach her students more effectively. Follow her on Twitter to read more about her work.