Seeing a young writer get excited about putting pen to paper is one of the most rewarding moments for parents and teachers. Creating a story or making a drawing, just taking time to put their ideas down, it’s such a wonderful experience to foster.
And with that in mind, today is the perfect day to add a few more practices for young writers. Why? Because today, April 10, is National Encourage a Young Writer day!
I know there’s way too many national days out there. There’s a National Empanada day and National Zoo Lovers day. It can be a little overwhelming.
But for National Encourage a Young Writers day, I’ll make an exception.
How do we Encourage Young Writers?
Today I’ve got
5 8 ways that you can encourage a young writer to write more, to get excited about writing, and to really establish the kinds of practices that can lead to a long writing career.
1. Shared Story Writing
This one is great for a classroom or larger group of young writers, but works fine with just two people as well.
The basic idea is to start a story by writing one sentence, then hand the story off to the next person. They add their sentence and keep passing it around. This strategy is fun because there aren’t any real limits or restrictions. It could be one sentence from everyone. Or the story could keep getting passed around and around!
Shared writing is a really good way to encourage teamwork and help young writers become comfortable with sharing their writing.
2. Gift a Journal
While kids might always be begging for the newest wireless gaming devices and toys of that sort, giving something as simple as a notebook and pen can be a great way to encourage good writing habits. Just giving a child a journal may not be enough to inspire a writing habit, but it is a great place to start!
You can even use Lulu to make a custom journal with a personalized cover and interior!
3. Guided Writing
Okay, your kids have that brand new journal you gave them. Now it’s time to fill it up with some writing!
Guided writing practices are an amazing way to prompt and encourage them to write.
There are a lot of different ways you can guide their writing practice:
- Write a sentence and let them continue the story!
- Pick an everyday object and write a story from the object’s perspective.
- Set a timer and write for that amount of time without any goal or guidance (often called ‘free writing’).
- Take a popular character your child likes and have them write a unique story for the character (fan fiction, basically).
Set aside time everyday for reading. Even if it’s only 10 minutes, just make sure there is some time for reading.
Every successful author will tell you that reading and reading and reading are vital to being a great writer. But it has to start early. The younger you can instill a love of reading, the better.
Even though this is National Encourage a Young Writer day, reading is just as important and we can’t overstate how important it is to be a reader and a writer.
5. Make a Book
Take those notebooks and stories and make them into a book! Even if it’s just a printed and bound version of the various stories your kids have written, seeing it as a book is a great way to encourage your young writer to keep writing.
And thanks to simple print-on-demand like Lulu or the Lulu Junior kits, you can make their stories into a book with ease and very minimal expense. It’s true of writers of all ages: seeing your work printed and bound is one of the biggest accomplishments of a writing habit. Giving your kids a book is the best way to keep them excited about writing.
6. Story Sharing Groups
It’s a well known fact that writing is a solitary activity but a communal project. Because why write if you’re not going to ask anyone to read it?
So think about starting a Facebook group (or similar online group) with other parents to share your kid’s work. Just like adult writing groups, you might create a couple of questions to guide their reading so kids can share stories and get valuable feedback.
Here’s a few ideas for guiding questions:
- Who was your favorite character?
- What happened in the story that you didn’t expect?
- If you could change one thing in the story, what would it be?
7. Gamify Writing
This may seem like a challenge, but inserting a form of gamification can really go a long way to encouraging a young writer. With games of all kinds becoming more and more prevalent, tying writing into this way of thinking can really be an eye-opener.
Using gamification will work best for kids who already love to write and draw, but are struggling to stay interested or finish projects. Add some kind of reward, either for completing a number of pages a day or for finishing the entire story!
8. Set Their Imagination Free
This last one is a little vague. But much of this list is about providing structure to help form good writing habits and practices. Which is important. Writing is a time consuming endeavor. So having some structure can help.
But there’s a lot of value in just letting kids explore their imagination in their own ways. If you’re working on encouraging your young writer and their resistant, consider changing it up. Do something else. Build a Lego® castle. Then ask if there might be a story behind that castle.
Helping your kids find the story in the things they already love to do will help make writing and storytelling fun!
Forming a Habit
Even though today is Encourage a Young Writer day officially, you can make it every day with these simple tips to help making writing fun. And more than that, using easy to employ methods like journaling and setting aside time to read and write each day, you instill the right kinds of writing habits for kids who are just learning how to do what they love.