Writing to Read

Is it writing to read or reading to write?  Both!  Writing helps kids read just as much as reading helps kids write.  They are “kissing cousins”.

But how do you get kids to enjoy writing?  Many, especially boys, look at you with a “Do I have to?!” expression when you say it’s time to write.

This Reading Mama’s Suggestions:

  • I know you’re probably tired of hearing me say this: Read rich literature of all genres to your child.  Talk about how the author used this “fancy” word instead of a “boring” word.  Point out the climax of the story and how the author resolved the problem.  Help your child see that they can piggyback on such ideas in their own writing.
  • Let them write for authentic purposes (letters, thank you cards, pen pals, a grocery list, etc.).
  • Give them the freedom to just write/draw without over correcting spellings, letter formation, etc.  There will be times when these things are important and need to be corrected, but sometimes kids just need a “judgment free zone”.
  • Let them write about things that interest them.  So what if he just wrote his 5th book on playing soccer.  At least he’s writing!  If his written works all start sounding the same, suggest that he write about the rules of soccer, how his team won their last game, or a soccer poem.
  • Provide resources, such as a Word Wall, a book you’ve just read together, or a kids’ dictionary that helps them spell.
  • Allow them to use invented spelling when needed.
  • Not every misspelling or incorrect convention has to become a “teachable moment” or mini lesson.  Sometimes my kids just want a mama to encourage, not a reading mama to teach. 🙂
  • Treat them as a “real” author: put the books they’ve written on the bookshelf to be read.  Let them read their work to others–peers especially.
  • Don’t overdo it!  Kids don’t need to write a summary, fill out a worksheet, or answer questions in a Reading Response Journal every time they’ve read a text.  These things are good things in moderation, but sometimes a simple discussion between the two of you will suffice.

I know my kids are young, but here are some of my kids’ favorite ways to “write” (other than pencil and paper):

  • Magna Doodle
  • AquaDoodle: their website
  • GloDoodle:  their website
  • sidewalk chalk
  • Easel with dry erase & chalkboard (I got my wooden easel at Ikea for 14.99!! after seeing it here)
  • small dry erase boards/markers
  • markers and crayons that write on glass surfaces (Crayola)
  • Crayola Explosion
  • crayons for the bathtub (we bought at Target)
  • cookie sheet filled with oatmeal, rice, sand, or corn meal- “write” or “draw” with fingers
  • water and paintbrushes (or Q-tips to practice that fine motor) outside on a hot day as seen here

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Everyday Literacy 1 « This Reading Mama

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