Play Time With Writing
Our son is 10. He can't spell, his grammar is terrible, and he doesn't write in
complete sentences. He freezes when a blank piece of paper is put in front of
him. How can we help?
It's hard to feel confident when the pressure's on. It's
better when you do what comes naturally, for kids: play!
Writing should be joyful and natural, and it can be, with
the right kind of playful practice activities you can do at home:
a joke or funny note on a slip of paper. Tuck it in your child's lunchbox or
backpack. Next day, the child should write back, hiding the new note for you to
find. Keep it up as long as you can, and keep the notes to re-read together.
"audiotales." Ask your child to talk into a tape recorder about "my perfect
day" or "how to score in soccer." Whatever is familiar, fun and exciting should
make the words freely flow. Then the child can listen to the tape and transfer
the best parts onto paper. Result: better flow in print, too.
your child with a penpal. They can write letters or send email. A grandparent
or adult friend of the family would be ideal so that good grammar, spelling and
punctuation would be modeled. Teach your child to end each message with a
question to keep the conversation going.
love mysteries and finding what's hidden. Take turns hiding things in your
house and yard. Your child should write three or four clues to lead to the
"treasure." Clue-writing is a great way to practice writing clearly and
should be circling grammar, spelling and punctuation errors by third or fourth
grade, but if they don't, you should. Your child should correct and rewrite
each error, and as a reward for "catching" errors, you should go out and play
some "catch" with your all-star young writer.
Homework: As your child grows older and
writing assignments become more complex, note the good at-home aids for writing
instruction available through: www.howtotutor.com