How To Sharpen Your Child’s Writing Skills

This is what you should all remember:  It’s never too early — or too late — to sharpen your child’s writing skills.  Writing is a skill that doesn’t always come naturally, but it’s something that any child can learn.  In your child’s life, it will be important from first grade to college and throughout adulthood. He will need the skill to write term papers, thank you notes, job applications, articles, and business letters. It may also be something he’ll actually do for a living.

Every writer, at some point, thinks that they are a failure in writing, that they can’t writer well, and that they wouldn’t flourish as a writer. But in reality, if they let that feeling stop them, they wouldn’t be your favorite writers.  People often say that they don’t know what to write. They somehow have this idea that there is a standard or “acceptable” subject to write about. But reacting to something like a movie and articulating that reaction on paper is a valid subject.  Every person can actually write about anything at all.

There are a number of skills that children need to enable good writing:

  1. The ability to focus.  A basic element of actually starting to write is focusing, and unfortunately, focusing one’s attention is one of the hardest things to do.  It’s especially difficult nowadays because our kids have grown accustomed to Twittering about their day in 140 characters or less.  It’s a challenge to keep still, wait for ideas to start flowing, let alone, developing them.  If your kids need to be coherent, if they want their thoughts to be understood on paper, they need to find a way to focus.
  2. Creative imagination. Someone once said that everything made by man started from a simple idea brought to life with imagination. Since anyone with access to the web can get almost any kind of information they need, it’s not information itself that becomes valuable but HOW we use this information. And that requires imagination — a very active, healthy imagination.
  3. Honesty.  Even in fiction, writing honestly is important. Kids who have the interest and potential to write need to learn to use words that are there to express rather than impress. Pretension can be spotted immediately and does little to draw readers in. Encourage your child to write candidly about things that are personal to him — friends, family, dreams, and disappointments.
  4. A reading habit.  Practice will never make perfect if the writer is not a reader. This is a challenge in a culture of growing a world with people who can read and write, but don’t. Writing tends to come more naturally when one is an avid reader. By reading a variety of topics, you’ll see that there are an infinite number of ways to write and that there is no wrong or right way, only an individual style of writing. Reading gives you the confidence to figure out what your writing voice is.

How can you encourage your kids to write?

  1. Provide the place and materials.  A desk, good lighting, plenty of paper, pencils, pens, and crayons provide the best conditions to get your child started. There’s also nothing like a nice, blank notebook begging to be filled-up.
  2. Write together.  Start writing yourself, and genuinely find enjoyment in the craft. Get your child to help you write thank you letters. You can try a game in which one of you begins a story with a single sentence, and both of you continue it on paper. Exchange stories and compare notes. It could be fun.
  3. Show an interest.  Take the time to say something good and ask questions about anything your child draws or writes, even if it’s only a few sentences. Tell him if you think it’s thoughtful, descriptive, scary, or funny. A positive approach and genuine interest in your child’s work will do wonders for his confidence.
  4. Don’t force them. Never push your children to take up writing. It’s the best way to turn them off. It’s like when you push them to eat their veggies, and it suddenly becomes unsavory. Whenever parents inssit that their children should like or try something, that thing becomes suspect.

My youngest daughter loves to read, and I have shared in my previous post the fictional story that she wrote for her English subject in school: The Adventure of Charlie Hamilton.    The most important thing that I have done for my daughter was to fully support her love for reading.  Whenever we go to SM Malls, the first store that she always wants to visit is Book Sale, because she knows that she’ll be able to buy more books there than in National Bookstore.  I always tell her the budget that I have  for her books and after browsing through the bookstore, she usually comes back to me with her hands full of the books that she chose, and guess what,  the total amount  always exceeds the budget allocation that I gave her.  When this happens, I usually ask her to choose the best three books that she likes and then return the rest.  That was always a difficult decision for her because she always wants me to buy everything, so, I just promise her that we’ll just come back to the bookstore soon.

In order to minimize the regular purchase of expensive books for my daughter, hubby and I considered buying her a Kindle Fire.  So, I made a research and looked for online stores which sell the unit, and when she graduated from Grade 6 last March, this was our gift to her.  She was very happy with it and nobody could borrow it from her, not even me!  She reads one book after another, and fortunately, the seller gave us the link to lots and lots of e-books which I uploaded as soon as we got the unit.  A few months have passed but she’s still enjoying it, though, every now and then, I can still see her reading “real” books because I think it still feels different  to hold a “real” book.  But then, whether it’s digital or real books, I know that the love of reading is already in her system, and it’s something that nobody can take away from her.

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43 Comments Posted

  1. Thanks for the very informative post. Perhaps I will go back to this post when my son knows how to read and write.
    I also read the story done by your daughter. Really nice one.

  2. This is very important to create the writing skills in the child from his schooling period because sometimes if a child does not get proper guidence about writing skills, this becomes his/her weakness throughout the life. So there should be the proper guidence to sharpen the writing skills of the child.

  3. These are such good tips and advises. I used to have troubles focusing when I was a child simply because I was impatient and my mom never knew what to do to help me out.
    Thanks for sharing.


    • Kids really have short attention spans, that’s why it helps to teach them to read early in life, it helps them to focus and concentrate.

  4. I agree with providing the place and materials. If we surround our children with a healthy environment that is conducive for learning, their creativity will thrive.

    • Hi Jen, yes that’s very important, so that they’ll be inspired and encourage to write. That’s what my father did to me also, he made sure that my study area had complete materials.

  5. Practice makes the man perfect and you have to also apply this on your childs to sharpen their writing. As they have the writing experience they make it better and better.

  6. I find that these things also apply to us adults. 🙂 When the child shows interest in writing, it is really good to give that child all the support, encouragement and resources to be able to reach the full potential.

  7. i started writing at a young age. around elementary. I was not aware of it yet because I just love doing formal themes. by high school i have already joined the school. writing is a skill that we can all practice.

  8. My daughter is in the journalism class and what I do is I share what I’ve written to her and encourage her that she can write about anything if she wants to. I was thinking of buying her her own netpad soon.

  9. Thank you so much mam with this post. It somehow gives me an idea on how to approach my daughter who has that potential in reading books and writing tales or stories. For now, we start in doing her daily journal. Again, I am very much thankful with this post. :-).

  10. Hi Pearl! This is awesome! These are all very nice tips. I admired your daughter for having developed the love for books. Actually this is one trait that we should let our children to learn.

    Thanks for sharing this!

  11. My daughter is 4 years old and i have hard time teaching her how to write especially when answering her assignments but hoping sooner or later she will love writing or reading.

  12. Informative post. Gives me an idea what to expect when it’s time for the kiddo to write essays. While she’s still a toddler, I’ll make sure to keep this in mine. I know I need to improve my writing skills.

  13. Kudos for the list that you have on starting as a writer. this is informative and the post that you made is not only to encourage kids to write also we adults who wants to write in the future. That is also true most of us are having a hard time on concentrating on what will be the topic. Sometimes to stop for a while and think about the post that we will be making as well. However if we continue reading and reading this will really help us increase our ideas!
    Thanks for the information really appreciated it!

  14. My 5 year old son also loves to write. I encourage him to write his thoughts first and correct him later. In this way he is never afraid to express his emotions and ideas on paper.

  15. it would really be such great accomplishments for us mums to raise children who not only love reading but also enjoy writing creatively. i guess the best thing we can do is to provide them with an environment that is most conducive to honing these skills + giving them enough encouragement + support to keep them going.

    thanks for these nifty tips, i sure want my son to be explore writing when he is a bit bigger + these sure will come handy 😉

  16. very informative post. thanks for sharing.
    i want my daughter to try writing too, i sure want her imagination to soar and at the same time she can write it down. 🙂

  17. I apply the same strategies for my 5yr old son, a child with special needs, and I see awesome results. It’s hard, but with great determination and unconditional love, I see success! 🙂

  18. Being a good writer is definitely one of the side benefits of loving to read. Also encourage the kids to use their imaginations to write their own stories about whatever interests them.

  19. they need guidance, support and understanding. every kid has their own interests and pace, just be patient…

    wow i want a Kindle fire too! but i still prefer the paper/hardbound books

  20. My kids are aged 3 and 4 and are just starting to write words. We’re focusing now on developing their love for reading and story-telling. I’m proud to say that both can tell their own unique stories when asked to. I’ll keep your tips in mind and we’ll practice them when the kids are older.

  21. what a wonderful article Sis 🙂 I am glad that my kids learn how to write at a young age 🙂 They are 9 and almost 6 years old. I remember when I was 7 years old, that’s the time I am learning how to write my name but today’s generation the kids learn to write at a young age and of course with their parent’s help too 🙂 Dropping by from BC, so sorry this is a very late visit 🙁

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