Make Writing Fun for Your Child
Provided by Sylvan Learning Center


If we wrote as frequently as we speak, writing would be as natural as talking. Most of us only write for school or for work and never develop the ease with writing that we have with conversation. By increasing the amount and type of nonacademic writing your child completes, writing can become a natural activity out of school and, therefore, a less intimidating activity in school. Here are some simple ideas to make writing fun for your child:

Thank-you notes are a good beginning. Simple and short, thank-you notes can be written by any child who can make letters.

As your children become older, encourage them to talk about local and national events. From these conversations, your children can easily begin to write letters to the editor and to local and national politicians.

Create a family memory book by having family members sit down and summarize the important events in your lives over the past year. Collect these mini-histories in a book on New Year's Eve.

Write a letter to the United States on the Fourth of July. Encourage your children to express their thoughts and feelings about their country. Before writing, you might want to read about a period in American history. Collect your family's essays in a Fourth of July book with a cover designed by your child. Add to the binder each year.

Begin a family almanac by asking your children to write descriptions of their home, neighborhood, and town complete with illustrated maps. Trace your family history through the various places your ancestors have lived.

Take turns playing critic. Watch television programs or movies, play video or board games, listen to albums or concerts, visit museums or festivals--then write your critique. Encourage your children to describe their experience or to compare, for example, two television programs of the same type.

Sports events are another area where children can describe and critique the action. Encourage your children to explain why they like certain sports figures. These essays can lead to fan letters addressed to favorite athletes.

Letters to friends, relatives, or pen pals can lead to ongoing correspondence, and your children can experience the positive reinforcement of receiving their own mail.

Finally, collect what your family writes and give these "books" equal space with other books you own. Pride of authorship is a strong incentive to keep writing.