My experience teaching kids and young adult literature has made me realize that children have a great imagination. One thing they love to do is to express themselves. All they need are listening ears and an attentive heart.
Their love for attention and the need to express themselves usually instigate them to give in to writing as one of their many means of expressing themselves.
It is unfortunate, however, that our educational system has not been able to help children understand how to express themselves enough, especially, via writing.
According to a class teacher, Anna Geiger, school curriculum usually give preference to reading and Mathematics, while relegating writing to the background. This means that the educational system wants kids to keep assimilating and not learn to express themselves adequately.
Geiger, in her write-up for the Measured Mon, said: “When teaching writing becomes a 15-minute chunk of time (and let’s be honest, it’s really 12 minutes) in which kids follow a journal prompt and race against the clock to produce something, they’re not learning to write. They’re practicing it – and not very well.”
Although Kids need to be encouraged to write or fall in love with writing, however, they must not be forced to write or love writing. Doing this is detrimental to the interest of the child in writing. They must find themselves loving it.
Make Them Love reading
Before writing can become fun for kids, they must understand and love how to read. They need to have read the works of other authors especially children like themselves. It is important you as parents get them books that interest them. Teachers should make reading interesting, and not just a routine. If the child fails to love reading, writing will be dreadful. Reading is like the food they digest to get the interest in writing fired up. Parents must involve themselves involved in the reading process.
Reward and Help Them Form the Habit
Kids don’t like to be forced to do anything. They usually lose interest in activities they are not interested in. So forcing them to write is out of the question. One thing that works, however, is a reward system that encourages your kids to get involved. The reward system might simply be more screen time when they put a certain amount of time into writing. Make writing competitive, enrol them for competitions.
Tell Them Stories
As stated earlier, the imagination of children is like an empty room that echoes. You need to fill this room with stories that enhance their imagination. Children naturally love stories. When you tell these stories, encourage them to put it into writing. Note, they don’t have to write these stories, they might respond to your stories with a drawing or even a song.
Lead By Example
Children do what their parents do. They do exactly what they see you do. As parents and teacher. Ensure you also write. When you do, share your writings with them. Do this frequently and you will see your children taking after you.
Creating a Writing Time for Them
You must create a timetable for your kids. Now that most of the kids are at home, let them have the time to do some certain things including writing and reading. Be strict with this schedule and also join them during this reading time. While you create time for writing, also create a writing space for them. Let them understand that writing is a sacred endeavour. It is the regurgitation of one’s imaginations and knowledge. They need to do this art in a quiet and dignified location in the house.
Expand Their Imagination With Art
Children interact more with art. Most kids are virtual learners. You must learn to explore art. Buy your kid paints and brush and a drawing sheet or board. Allow them to express their imagination with art. When they are done doing this, help them express what they have crafted in writing. Buy books that have pictures and tell virtual stories.
Employ Vocabulary Games and other board games
Games are very good for stimulating learning. Educational games, adventure games and games that enhance their vocabulary can help them get their creativity together. They help improve their spelling and pronunciation.
Share Their Piece
To motivate children to write more, share and publish their work. Like adults, children derive joy from seeing that their works get the attention they deserve. They naturally will put more work into their writing. Ensure you look for online or offline platforms that would promote and publish the works of your kid. There are a lot of platforms out there that give priority to children writing. Sites like www.realkids.com and others are good for this. Teachers in schools should create school magazines or newsletters that showcase the works of the children.
Encourage them to keep Diaries and Journals
A diary or journal helps your kids in many ways. It helps them express their emotion better. Dairies help them communication with themselves on another level. Even with their young minds. They can explore their experiences and experiment with writing. Buy your kids journal for different situations and occasions.
Encourage Letter writing
Your kids have friends who are far away from where you reside; popular people they love, aunts, uncles, nieces and nephew who they miss. Encourage them to write letters to these folks. Although, phone and internet connection can make them lazy encourage your kids to write to people instead of speaking to them on phone. This helps them in two ways, they learn how to read and write well.