1. Use a writing pencil that fits your child’s hand.
Giving your child a tool that fits their hand means they will be able to control and grip the pencil better. This will give them more confidence when writing, it will enable them to write for longer periods and it will help them to learn to write more quickly.
2. Recognise and celebrate early writing.
When your son scribbles and calls it his name, he’s writing. When your daughter writes a string of letters and tells you what it says, she’s writing. And when your child draws a picture and adds a single word, they’re writing too. Celebrate their first writing steps!
3. Let your child see you write.
When you’re in a rush to head out the door and scribbling down a shopping list – and your child looks over your shoulder and asks what you’re doing – take a second. Show him. Let them watch you make lists, write thank you notes and compose a note for his snack box.
4. Create a writing space.
Set up a quiet corner for your child to write. If space is an issue, pack writing materials into a bag that your child can pull out at the kitchen table. Include pencils, writing books, pads of paper, envelopes, a notebook, and a dictionary appropriate for your child’s age.
5. Schedule quality writing time into your day.
The focus of your writing time should be short mini-lessons and then plenty of time for independent writing. Give your child writing time as often as you can. Like reading a bedtime story, writing should be a part of your child’s daily routine.
6. Let art be a part of writing.
When children first begin writing, their stories are mainly pictures. As they get older they’ll still love to illustrate their stories or add embellishments with stamps and stickers. Older children might enjoy drawing comics or creating collages to tell their stories.
7. Teach your child to write in different genres.
There’s so much to write! Poems don’t have to rhyme. A list of sounds you hear outdoors is a poem. Writing down a favourite recipe is a wonderful way to practice non fiction writing. A story doesn’t have to be an original tale; your child can retell a favourite fairy tale in writing.
8. Play games to teach writing skills.
Take a break from the stereo or iPad in the car. Instead, play word games to increase vocabulary. Ask what their favourite word is and why. Tell them your favourite words and explain why you like them so much.
9. Give support and encouragement.
When your child is writing, be as involved as you can. Talk through ideas and offer advice. Think of yourself as an encourager, not a critic. After all, that’s what makes a great teacher!