If you’re a parent or a tutor with a budding storyteller in your family/class, you might like some ways to encourage a young writer. No matter what technological advances are made, writing is still an enviable skill to have. From entertaining us with books to words that fill websites and apps that make a difference to our lives, writing is an art that isn’t going anywhere soon. Do try these ways to encourage a young writer.
Perhaps the most important point on this list of ways to encourage a young writer is to talk to kids about writing. Kids need to be inspired and reminded that talking about writing and words is an important part of life. By talking about writing and language, children learn that they don’t need to be scared of the writing process and instead can have a great deal of fun. We all know what it’s like to meet a great teacher in school who is passionate about their subject, and that the passion rubs off on you: use this same approach when trying to encourage children to write themselves.
A fun way to get children interested in writing is to start writing letters to each other. Make it into something fun – post a letter addressed to them under their bedroom door, and ask them to do the same back to you when they have a reply. You could even use the internet to find a pen pal in a far-flung country with whom they can converse!
Rather than writing a diary of the day’s events, young writers might be more interested in writing about what they have seen. Turn the journal into a real-time account of their adventures. Get them to jot down what they see on the walk to school, or while they are eating their lunch in the school yard.
Every kid at some point in their life has written a chain story, where a story is written by a group of people together. Start with one person writing a sentence, and pass the piece of paper to another person. That person can read the first sentence, but once they have written theirs, they must fold the first sentence over so that the person they pass it to can only see the preceding sentence. This makes for a really fun activity that you can do with any number of people.
If you want to find ways to inspire young writers, think about what you would have been inspired by when you were younger. Put yourself in the shoes of a child and write an article addressing them directly. What would you have found interesting, or wanted adults to talk to you about?
An absolute must is to encourage children to read. There is no better way to encourage a young writer to write themselves than to have them read. Whether you start with Roald Dahl or Harry Potter, reading is reading. Take them to a library and expose them to all of the wonderful genres of books which are open to them.
Once a child has read a book, get them to review it. Not only will this encourage them to write, it gets them to think about the story they just read. Did they like it? What could be improved? Were all of the characters nice and relatable? Book reports don’t have to be uninteresting and long, but could take the form of a poem or a short story. Show that there are no rules to writing, and that writing is about doing what you love.
There are lots of things that children do better than adults. One way to encourage a child to write is to set them the task of explaining something to you. It should be something they are familiar with, and can be written down in various steps. This will build their confidence, as you become the student while they are the teacher. Perhaps consider using the classic recipe game, where you get the child to cut out the steps and place them in the incorrect order, and see if you can arrange them. If not, you can explain that they need to make their structure clearer.
Poetry is a great way to express emotions and ideas, so encourage young writers to write about their thoughts through the medium of poetry. Poems don’t have to rhyme, and can take almost any form. You might want to introduce them to limericks or Haiku to mix things up a bit!
You never know, encouraging a young writer might just inspire you to write yourself. They say everyone has a book in them. Do you?
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