Give Them the Tools
The most important way you can help your child develop their writing is by giving them a pencil, notebook, paper, colored pencils, small stapler and a place to write. Keep their supplies in a special basket or spot so they can grab what they need whenever the mood to write strikes them!
Put their writing on the refrigerator or tape it to the wall to show how proud you are. Ask your child to reread their writing so you can listen. When children make the connection that their writing is meaningful, they’ll be excited to write more.
Create a Personal Dictionary
Take seven sheets of blank copy paper and fold them in half, stapling the fold to create a book. On the cover have them write “My Dictionary”. Show your child how to write one letter of the alphabet on the top of each page. Keep this at home so they can write their new sight words in it each week or words they ask you to spell. Encourage them to draw a small picture to help remind them what the word means. For example, If the word is “laugh” have them draw a laughing face in the letter g. This is an empowering technique for children to take ownership of learning and using new words.
Keep a Journal
Give your child a notebook that is just for them. Show them how to keep a journal by writing the date at the top of the page. Then make it their choice: Is this a nature journal where they can write about cool things they’ve explored and learned outside? Or is this a feelings journal, where they can write about what’s happened to them that day? Or a Minecraft journal? Let them decide. Try a Question-a-day journal, such as this one.
The point of a journal is to encourage writing in a relaxed setting. Tell them their writing doesn’t need to make sense and it isn’t graded. They can write sloppily, draw lots of pictures and they don’t even need to share what they write with anyone.
Be the Family Card Maker
Have your child be the person who creates cards for special occasions. Fold a piece of paper in half and help them write a special birthday card for a family member. These activities show your child that their writing matters and someone will get to enjoy their hard work.
Look at a Writing Checklist for their Grade
As parents, sometimes it’s hard to understand what is expected of our children’s writing. Use these checklists to help guide your expectations for their writing.
Write a Report
Third graders love to talk about what they know! Have them make a report about something they like using a few pieces of paper stapled together. Ask them to draw a picture on the cover and help them create a title such as, “Why Are Zebras So Unique?” Let them do the research and writing.
A Moment to Remember
Did something happen that left your family laughing until they cried? Did your child discover something exciting, like a bird’s nest? Or did your child endure a very annoying situation, like the time they broke their arm?
Children will learn that their life is worth writing about and that these everyday moments are what the best stories are made from. Have your child describe what happened and record it into a story.