10 Ways to Encourage Your Child’s Writing

encourage child writing

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Children’s imaginations seem to always be filled with interesting concepts, ideas and stories. But capturing those things and putting them on paper isn’t always quite as easy.

Writing helps children become better readers, and reading helps children become better writers. Luckily, there are a few things you can do at home to encourage your child’s writing skills.

1. Keep writing supplies on hand: Inspiration can strike at any moment. Encourage your child to keep a pencil and notepad handy on family outings. At home, provide ready access to a writing desk equipped with pencils, paper, erasers, books and a wastepaper basket.

2. Encourage journal writing: Buy a journal for your child and encourage them to make a short daily entry about their day. Talk to them about what they enjoyed doing and ask questions to encourage their thinking. Try not to get too caught up in spelling, respect their privacy if requested, and let them feel like it’s a safe place for them to write in without any judgement.

3. Use a chalkboard or family message board: Children need to understand that the act of writing is purposeful. Let your child contribute items to the family shopping list or write messages on the family message board. Don’t forget to acknowledge their contribution.

4. Write letters: If you send regular greeting cards, letters or emails to friends and family members, invite your child to write and send their own messages to relatives. Allow time for practice by creating several draft versions together and taking turns reading them out loud.

5. Provide writing prompts: Creative writing can be tricky, and it’s often helpful to give your child a topic or theme to write about. You can create simple prompts and have your child fill in the rest. For example, ‘If I could choose to be an animal, I would choose to be a…’, or ‘The bravest thing I have ever done was…’ Reading Eggs has an interactive story-writing guide which provides useful word, sentence and illustration prompts. Try it for free here.

6. Create a story board: A story board is a series of pictures that tell a story and resembles a comic strip. Creating a story board is a fun and helpful way for your child to plan their story and draw pictures to help them clearly envisage what will happen.

7. Read before writing: Reading a book before setting pen to paper helps your child become familiar with story structure. Choose a book with a traditional ‘beginning’, ‘middle’ and ‘end’ and explain how the story is structured before they create their own.

8. Create your own storybook: Home-made books offer a wealth of benefits for your child. Provide a variety of paper and pencils and use other books as models for creating your own. View more tips on creating home-made books.

9. Encourage enthusiasm for writing through imaginative play: This is a good idea to encourage younger children to take an interest in writing. You can pretend to be working in a post office and have your child ‘write’ and reply to handwritten letters with scribbles. Alternatively, pretend to be a customer at a restaurant and have your child take down your order.

10. Be their biggest cheerleader: Always offer positive feedback and take an interest in your child’s writing. Praise them for having a go at writing words that are new and show them how to spell difficult words that they may not have been able to spell correctly.

Reading Eggs is the comprehensive online reading website that teaches children aged 3-13 essential early reading skills. Reading Eggs includes the Story Factory which gives children a step-by-step guide to writing a story. Start your free trial here today

How to Use Your Child’s Dreams to Develop Their Creative Writing Skills

creative writing for kids

Dreams are a rich source of creative writing for kids. Dreams are often filled with unique ideas, adventures and experiences that rarely or never occur in the real world. Here are some ways parents can help children put their dreams onto paper!

Ask good questions. Talk to your child about their dreams and let them know that you’re there to listen and support their imagination. When your child describes the story in their dreams, ask them about their feelings, about the colours of the sky and landscape, and about exactly how events played out to jog their memory and encourage detailed description.

Practise the ‘show, don’t tell’ rule.  ‘Show, don’t tell’ is a great creative writing rule to follow, and encourages children to use active verbs to show what’s happening in their story rather than simply reporting the facts. You can get your child to start off by writing a play-by-play recount of their dream. Then get them to rewrite their story in a way that shows the same information. For example, ‘The dinosaur was scared’ could become, ‘the dinosaur trembled and ran away to hide’.

Create a story board. A story board is a series of pictures that tell a story. It resembles a comic strip and can be a fun way for your child to plan and visualise how they will tell their story. Often our recollection of dreams becomes lost after waking up. Story boards are a great way to help your child evoke imagery from their dreams or create new ones.

Help your child keep a dream journal. A dream journal is a great way to help your child record dreams and write them down before they forget. They can decorate and personalise they own dream journal and fill it with words and pictures. Remember to respect your child’s decision if they ever begin to want to keep their journal private.

Provide other tools for creative expression. Sometimes writing isn’t the easiest option for your child to express their dream experiences. By providing other tools for creative expression, you can encourage your child to bring their dreams to life in other ways such as art, dance, theatre or puppets. By experimenting with different tools for expression, they may find new ideas, motivation and inspiration to write.

Do not interpret. Feel free to help your child interpret their own dreams or tell them what you would think about if you were having the same ones, but remember to encourage their creativity and interpretation skills by letting them make the final decision on what their dreams mean.

For more creative writing tips read our blog post on story writing here.