Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Teaching the Young Child to Write~Creatively!

When my children were younger, one method I used to bud the creativity in them in their writing is an idea that my friend, Julie gave me.  She had written a guide to writing with the emphasis on enlisting a love for writing within the child's heart first by journal writing each day and systematically teaching editing and the grammar rules as the child journals.  The secret "arsenal" was to have the child write in the journal each day of school, but only weekly to "conference" with the child about his writing.  This was not a critical feast of condemning the child's efforts, but one where the parent/teacher reads with interest and support, validation picking only ONE error to focus upon.  Just ONE! Now this was hard for me initially, but in seeing this method work, the child is not discouraged by hearing how so much is wrong, but that their flow of creative ideas is wonderful, GREAT, and accepted!

When our children were encouraged to write in the manner, they wrote creative stories and accounts of things that they thought without the struggles of the "mechanics" if you will allow me to call it that~the FREE-FLOW of IDEAS is what's most important in the developing thinker and writer . . .

Even the youngest child who has learned to form his letters and write simple sentences through copy work can journal each day.  If your child isn't able to write many sentences independently, then assign ONE each day . . . My son wrote, "I love a cat; I have a cat; My cat is Tiger." You can get the idea that it was a incremental process that TOOK TIME!

Just as  it takes time for a child to learn to read, it will take time for your little to write and write well!

For the very young child, you can "scribe" for him until he is able to write his sentence independently.  Use a journal.  Let your child pick out his own style and color~his preference! I love the Dollar Tree for having these so affordable and often they are so unique! My son's had a frog on it in the shape of a frog!!  Scribe and then have him copy~but don't overwhelm.

Please see the bigger picture that your child is growing and WILL get it!
Our family is proof of this! I have posted our current writing methods/processes
Strategy I

Planning Past the EvalsStrategy 3
Playing Our Way to Writing! and you can see we are well beyond my scribing and the one sentence journal method.

Play some games to encourage language development!

Games for the Young Child:

1. Sentence starters are great. Make up your own (as simple as your child needs it to be . . .)
2. Finish the story: writing game.  Have your children around the table. Start with one line, something like: "There once was . . ." OR "Once upon a time, there was . . ." OR "Hello said the little kitten to . . ." Of course change the kitten to whichever animal your child adores. Is it his dog or a bunny or turtle? ;-)) Make it fun! And then each child and yourself will take a turn adding a word! Allow yourself to write them as you go around, OR pass a sheet of paper for older children. For a fun, fast passed game, do sentences.  Pass this with the olders and they will giggle, get silly and soo creative!
3. Give your child a picture.  Have him tell you what he sees.  You can write it down on his appropriate age level lined paper every other line so now it becomes copy-work, which will reinforce not only what the thought and what was said, but also strengthen those fine motor skills in the mechanics of physcal writing as well as demonstrate just how sentence properly are put together (grammar.)

I hope you will find these methods incouraging and helpful.  Remember like reading, the ability to write is one that takes incramental practice over years to develop.

The biggest goal at a young age is to foster the thinking, creative mind! 

Writing for successful writers!

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