Your kid now reads short books, but his writing at school stops at a phrase or a sentence. How do you encourage him to start writing stories? My kid has taught me tremendously about harnessing his creativity into stories. The biggest challenge for most people, including kids, is getting started. Once you have an idea that you’re loving, it’s easy to keep on. So, this entry will give you ideas on how to get started, how to find story ideas. Remember, the story doesn’t have to be publishable; the point is to spark his imagination and translate that onto pen and paper.
- Draw pictures to illustrate a picture book. A picture can spark a story. Ask questions about the drawing, like what’s his name? What does he like to do? Who are his friends? Many kindergartens use pages like this, which is a good place to start, or you can make your own with blank paper,which allows for more creativity.
- Write lists. Creating lists is a very natural way for kids to start writing. A shopping list, a birthday list, a list of loved ones, a list of favorite books-all of these are easy subject matter for even very young children.
- Go into nature. Take a trip to the beach, go on a hike, or visit a park and have your child write about what they see. If your child likes to draw, suggest drawing a picture and then labeling the drawing.
- Buy or make your child a blank book. My son received a wonderful blank book as a party favor, which the mom purchased at a dollar store, Daiso in San Francisco. At preschool, the teachers make books out of construction paper for the children to draw in.
- Offer to do the writing while your child dictates, especially if your child is still a beginner at handwriting.
- Start a journal. Most authors write regularly in a journal. Documenting your day can create ideas. Maybe he played a new game with a friend? Maybe something funny happened at the playground? Write about the best, worst and funniest part of his day to get the ideas flowing.
- Remind your child of stories he tells. For instance, my son had an amazing dream, during which his sister and he were super heroes. Her power was turning people to pasta and eating them. “What a great story that would be,” I told him, and he ran off and began his next blank book.
- Expand upon existing stories by other authors. Maybe your child loves video games or a specific TV show or book. Suggest that he write a sequel or new adventure for his favorite character.
- Ask what adventure he’d like to take. Would he like to go on a trip, turn into an animal, play at the beach? Be a pirate? Ride a train? Become a super hero? What would be the best day ever?
- Ask his opinion about a current event. The kindergarten class at my son’s school asked the children what they thought about the BART strike, and to write a sentence about it, for example whether they agreed with the strikers or workers.
Once you get her started, try to let go. The quickest way to stop a good thing is for your parents to pressure you to do it or look over his shoulder while trying to write. Anything goes as far as spelling for young children, and if a child is concerned with spelling, one strategy is to have the child circle the word in question and come back to it. Keep it low pressure, or risk losing the fun.
Ask permission before reading anything. Don’t share with others, such as the grandparents or Facebook, without your kid’s permission as well. What have you found most helpful in encouraging your children to enjoy creative writing?