It's great if your child is interested in words, reading and writing, but what if they aren't? Or they sort of are but just not that much. It seems it's getting harder and harder for the simple book to compete against the multi-million dollar productions that children watch everyday.
We'd also probably all agree that a child's capacity to flourish academically is dependent on their ability to read and write well. And beyond that the need to be able to write clearly is pretty much a necessity of modern life, regardless of which path in life is chosen.
So how do you engage a child to write?
The fundamental idea behind Gotcha Books is that learning is much easier if it's fun. All of us learn more quickly if we enjoy what we are doing. So with that in mind if you know a child that isn't that much into writing here are some pointers on how to turn writing into fun.
- Play to their interests and what they know
Get kids to write about whatever they are interested in. Quite often this might be about something they do, for instance, playing sport, going to school, their family, and because this is creative writing not factual writing they can then put their own fun twist on things. A timeless way to propel a story is to make sure you have a villain, or some sort of monster, or problem disturbing your story world. For instance, maybe if they like soccer they could write about their team, that has to play an evil mastermind's team of soccer robots.
- An alternate screen reality
If they are into screen, and most kids are these days, maybe they can write a story to do with their screen play? For example, they could write about an adventure in Minecraft where they invent new dangers and skills. Writing something that relates to a child's screen activities is a great way to help them understand the power of writing and also make the connection, that almost everything they watch or play on screen, first started as a written story or script.
- Create together
Work as a team and invent a story together. For example, I used to make up a stories for my boys, about two frogs who lived in a tree and had lots of adventures. Get the story started, let them take over or contribute, then say, hey lets write this down so we have it forever. In the kids section of of our website www.mashedmyths.com we offer a writing template that helps children write an adventure story.
- Write and draw a comic
My son was much more into drawing than writing when he was little, and I think maybe a lot of kids are, so rather than just write he would make comics. I can't remember if the words or the drawings came first, all I know is that he loved making his comics, and that he learnt a lot about writing and drawing by having to make words and drawings work together to tell a story.
- Turn writing into a word game.
Most kids love learning new words, and they typically pick them up quickly. In fact it's been documented that before kids know how to read, they are learning aaroundnine words a day. Learn new words with your child through magazines, or on the Internet then do some short writing excercises with these words.
There are also other word games that are good for writing excercises. For example picking a word, for example cat, and saying, lets write about a cat. Or finding an interesting picture and write about that.
For many people writing isn't easy, after all it is a complex process. It requires shaping an abstract thought through grammar and the constructs of language into meaningful communication. That's requires time and thought.
To get the kids in your life writing, regardless of age, make writing fun. Turn it into a game, an adventure, be loose and free with it, don't get caught up in the spelling or the grammar, that can come later. Help your child to enjoy writing and in the process they'll be learning and mastering one of the greatest forms of human self- expression there is.