Tips for Parents for National Day on Writing

Parents can use everyday activities to promote the lifelong skill of writing. Children can be taught how to write at a very early age by showing them that writing is a form of communication like talking. Children learn to read and write by being exposed to words through conversation and literature. Reading stories to your child is a motivational force that could inspire them to want to write.

Preschool

• Teach your child to  recognize the letters of the alphabet by reading alphabet books.
• Write your child’s name on the door of their bedroom or on the refrigerator so he or she can look at it often.
• Have your child pick out the letters in books, signs and other printed materials.
• Let your child scribble and draw.
• Teach your child to print first and write in cursive later.
• Beginning with lines and shapes, encourage your child children to draw.
• Teach them to write their own name.
• Practice handwriting. Copy letters, words, and sentences.
• Clearly label everyday items. Teach them the word. Then practice writing the word.
• Read stories to your child.
• Have children read the stories back to you.
• Let your child tell you stories.
• Write the stories they tell you.

Learning to write is a process that can begin when your child is a toddler. To help your child with writing, help build his or her fine motor skills and recognize letters and words. Once children know how to hold a pen, you as a parent can begin teaching your child how to write. Age appropriate books should be easily accessible and reading time should be encouraged throughout the day. Children begin to learn how to write simple things such as their name and other small words in kindergarten.

Elementary

• Have fun with writing. Have your child trace letters accurately. Make this a huge deal.
• Make up stories with your child and you can write them down.
• Have children write short stories.
• Have your child write cards and notes on holidays and birthdays.
• Have your children make up alternative endings to their favorite books or stories. Ask what if and what would happen if questions. Have them write the alternative ending.
• Have them read stories they have never read before and write book reports about the story.
• Play word games to lengthen and strengthen the attention span of your child. This will increase vocabulary and desire to write.
• Have your child write about someone they know
• Talk about what the person will do in the story.
• Ask your child questions: “What happens?” “What do you think?”
• Have your child write the story.

Encourage writing by purchasing fun pens and pencils that children may find interesting. Buy notebooks that fill the same purpose. After you have presented your child with a fun pen and notebook, have them write notes, letters and lists. The aim is to get the child to write either letters or stories, so they will enjoy writing.

Middle and High School

• Have your child gather information by interviewing someone in your family or your neighborhood.
• Choose questions, together, for the interview.
• Have your child edit the interview and put the information in order.
• Read the interview back to the person.
• Have your child make lists, take down messages, and write notes.
• Play charades, scrabble, and do crossword puzzles, together.
• Talk about why people write. Let them know people tell stories about events and other people when writing.

Children can prepare the grocery list or write a letter to their friends or relatives or start a diary. Encourage your child to read daily. Discuss what they have read at school. Talk about subjects that interest them. Have them write about those interests and share it with you. Don’t criticize, just listen.

To discover other ways to help your child learn, read Parent Power published by the U.S. Department of Education.