This post is sponsored by Writing with Sharon Watson.
Writing is in my blood. It’s steeped so deeply into the fabric of who I am, I cannot imagine stuffing all those words back inside. I started writing early in life and was writing poetry by third grade. I was editor of our school paper in middle school, and entered writing contests often (even to the point of winning the Daughters of the American Revolution scholarship in high school.)
But while communicating with the written word is an essential life skill for everyone, it doesn’t always come so naturally to children as it did for me. And since writing is an essential skill, I’d like to help make the art of writing as enjoyable for my kids as possible – even when they feel like getting words on paper is a lot like pulling teeth.
Let’s talk about some ways I’ve found to make writing more fun for kids.
Make Writing Assignments Related To What Your Child Loves
Soon after Ark Encounter (for Xbox) was first changed from a “mature” game to a game my kids could actually play, we happened to be with family in Indiana and my sister was helping the little kids make covers for their notebooks. Well, you wouldn’t believe how quickly my teens and tweens expressed interest in doing that same craft project for themselves. Except their notebook covers quickly took on a more ARK-centered theme.
Once the covers were designed, my boys started journaling their ARK experiences. How to find good materials, knowledge gained about each animal and how they were used in the game, detailed maps, and all kinds of information went into those notebooks along with drawings. They were notebooking. They were writing. And it was all a fun game on vacation. I don’t think it even occurred to them that they might be learning!
This wasn’t even a formal writing assignment for my kids at all – but it does give you an idea of how to tie the writing assignments you do give directly to something your kids already know and love.
Make Writing Assignments an Extension of Favorite Stories
My children all have access to a large and growing Audible library of audiobooks and have favorite stories they will listen to over and over and over. One of my children logs four to five hours of listening daily! Connecting her writing assignments to one of the stories she has already captured in her heart turns something that might be a chore into an absolute delight for her. She already makes up her own extensions of these stories, so it is an easy way to get her into the practice of pouring her words out onto paper. Or as the case may be these days, onto a computer screen.
Make Writing Assignments Relatable
Each of us writes best when we know our topic well. I remember very recently commenting to a friend that when I know a topic really, really well I can pound out a 700 word blog post in mere minutes. The key is to pick something that truly is a part of my lifestyle so that I know what I’m talking about and have a lot to say. When considering which topics to pick for your kids, think about what they know really well. Think about what might be their area of “expertise.” Think about what they might talk about for hours if they had your undivided attention. In our family that could include LEGOs, drawing, graphic design, Marvel comics, and even dog training, depending on the child.
Make Writing Assignments Visual
One of my oldest daughter’s favorite experiences ever was the creation of a story board. This was one of my husband’s ideas that turned out to be the best solution ever. My daughter is a gifted storyteller who just happened to have trouble getting words out of her brain and onto paper. By creating a visual story board with her own art and lists and organization, she was able to take her storytelling from a verbal tradition in the playroom to her own website! We have since used this same technique with other kids struggling to process writing and they love the hands-on artsy aspect of this idea.
Make Writing Assignments Action-Based or Movement-Based
Tying a writing assignment to fast-paced action can be a huge benefit to action-based kids. Come up with assignments like, “You are a police officer patrolling the streets of New York on a bicycle when you spot an actual, real-life bank robbery happening half a block away. Tell this story.” You can also use spin-off assignments from your child’s favorite action-packed television show or video game.
Even better, have your child act out parts of his story before writing it down or play movement-based games related to the assignment before sitting down to write.
I am so blessed to have found Jump In by Sharon Watson. It is a writing curriculum laid out for you that turns struggling writers into happy writers through fun and inspiring assignments. This post has been sponsored by Writing with Sharon Watson and I highly recommend you check out her writing materials for all ages.