10 Ways To Encourage Children To Write

Image by a.drian
To compliment my post on 10 Ways To Encourage Children To Read, I thought I would put together 10 Ways To Encourage Children To Write. Although fond of reading, my two boys need a bit of encouragement to practice (neatly!) their handwriting. Putting this list together now was good timing for us, as it is something that we need to do more of in this house.

A couple of notes about this list:

  • There is some cross over between this list for writing and the list for reading.
  • Some activities are suitable for younger children and some for older children, depending on their skills.

1. Shopping List

This idea helps me as well. When I am feeding the baby I can tell my children what to put on the shopping list and they can write it down for me!

2. Birthday Cards

This is a great task for new writers as it is not overwhelming. I write on a piece of paper “To Child’s Name” then “From Child’s Name” and they can copy this onto the card. Depending on how they have managed this task, you can then get them to write the greeting in the middle.

3. Letter Swap

I first heard about this idea on Curly Pops Blog. Christie at PigeonPair organised a mail swap, where each child would be given 5 names to write to (even international ones) and would then receive 5 letters in return. Christie is organising another one in May, which I intend to add my kid’s names to.

Alternatively you could just organise this with friends and family, so as to encourage you child to write so they receive!

4. Menu writing

To make lunch a little more fun some days we will make a cafe at home. We will decide on some options for lunch and create a menu for it. The kids can write the menu in three sections Main, Dessert and Drinks.

5. Writing Stories

A favourite activity with my children as they have started reading with some confidence, has been to hand write first, then publish on the computer their own stories. We have two different styles that we do: a story where we print out text only and the child draws the pictures to match the story they have thought of or; inserting digital photos from an event in the child’s life and allowing them to write the text to match.

6. Minute Taking At The Family Meeting

We have regular family meetings at our house and they provide an opportunity for one child to write the minutes each time. The younger children may need help on what points they actually need to write down, but it is also a good exercise for older children for them to learn note / minute taking skills.

7. Letters To The Editor

This is something that we have yet to try, but I will do so soon with my oldest child. He is at an age now where he does have opinions on contemporary issues. It will be a great exercise for him to articulate them and write them down. He can then look forward to seeing if they actually get published.

8. Keeping A Diary

We have tried this before without much success for anything other than short bursts. So instead of standard diary format, this time I will try to get the children to keep a diary for a specific period of time only. I will choose an exciting period of time, so it will be easy for them to think of things to write. We have family visiting and staying with us soon, so this should provide us with the first opportunity to try this new approach.

9. Commentary In Photo Albums

I have a year’s worth of photos that need to be placed into albums and comments which need to be written for the photos. This task would be a great one to do together with the children (they love looking at photos) and they can help decide what we write about the photos.

10. Games

There are a number of games that require the children to write. We received Boggle late last year, which we all love to play. I particularly like that Boggle can be played in short sharp bursts, so can be done regularly without too much set up or time commitment. Other games like Hang man, crosswords etc all get the children writing.