Seven Sneaky Ways to Give Your Kids Writing Practice

by Jimmie Lanley on March 17, 2011

Seven Sneaky Ways to Give Your Kids Writing Practice

Writing is one of those things that improves only through practice. Direct instruction is helpful but only as it is applied to yet another writing assignment. Here are some ways to sneak more writing into your child’s routine without his even realizing it’s school.

1.  Emailing

Set up an email account and let your child correspond with friends and relatives. An email account is also good for requesting catalogs or other printed freebies like these posters from the EPA.

ZooBuh! or Kid’s Email are two companies that provide protected email service to children and their parents.

2.  Blogging

Blogging is a fantastic way to give your child a real audience for his writing. Visit Blogging2Learn for direction in helping your child set up a blog.

I’m especially impressed by Eight Thumbs Up, a blog of book, game, and movie reviews written by four siblings.

3.  Penpals

bird stampsThis classic pastime is still alive! Although some people prefer e-pals, my daughter always liked the wait time between letters and sending physical objects through the postal system. Collecting stamps was an added perk.

4.  Postcard Collecting

For younger children, mom will need to do most of the planning for this writing activity while the child merely writes a sentence or two on the postcard. Tweens and teens can arrange their own trades and compose their own messages. I recommend Postcard Kids for this kind of hobby.

5.  Flat Traveler Trading

More of a commitment than postcard trading, flat travelers can be a fantastic way to take a “field trip in an envelope.” Keeping a journal for the flat involves quite a bit of writing.

6.  Keeping a Diary or Journal

Compiling thoughts and dreams in your own blank book is not only writing practice; it can also promote both healing and creativity.

7. Writing Thank You Notes or Notes of Encouragement

Besides writing thank yous for their own birthday or holiday presents, your child could serve as the family’s correspondence secretary and write notes on behalf of the entire family. Recently someone gifted us with four tickets to an expensive performance. I let Sprite compose and write the thank you note for us. The responsibility I gave her caused her to take extra care in the task.

If there haven’t been any gifts recently, ask your church secretary for a list of shut-ins or American soldiers that would enjoy an encouraging note.

Although some of these forms of writing may not directly relate to writing that perfect five paragraph essay, any chance to practice writing in an enjoyable, practical context should be taken. Writing, like math, is a tool we need for real, everyday living. These types of writing tasks demonstrate that truth.

What do you do to sneak in more writing?

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