How to help child in writing

26 Mar

I have been trying to have my son to write more. I think it is a critical skill for kids to have, no matter what they decide to do when they grow up.

I found this wonderful article series on ThisReadingMama. It shares some very good thoughts and tips on helping kids to write. Now thinking back, I realized I have done something wrong before.

Here is what I learned:
1. We should make the kids feel they are the author, meaning they decide what they want to write. It doesn’t mean we cannot offer ideas, but we should respect kids being the author.
2. A good way to help kids coming up ideas and structure their thoughts is to model the writing process. We work with the kids, think aloud, so they can hear our thinking process, and know how do we structure our thoughts.  Kids need know it is not a linear process, and it is ok to change from your original plan.
3. A good tip I learned is, when reading books together, discuss how other authors put together their stories. How did they start the story? How did they make the transitions between chapters, so the readers stay hooked? How did they end the stories? Before, when we talk about books, we mostly just talk about the story itself, now I know we should also talk about the writing.

I have only finished two articles in the series. If you are trying to help your child in writing, I highly recommend reading the whole series. I’d love to hear what do you think about her articles and what is your tip of helping kids to write more.


80 Responses to “How to help child in writing”

  1. sightinthedark March 26, 2013 at 4:38 pm #

    My teen has found a website where she and other teens her age do writing role play and they all contribute to the story. She is having fun but I think it’s teaching her the art of writing and fiction.

    • iGameMom March 26, 2013 at 10:41 pm #

      That sounds like an interesting site. Do you know the site name?

  2. Angel March 26, 2013 at 4:40 pm #

    I love this article because I think it’s important to teach all children how to write and read but also keeping in mind to go in their own personal speed and ways of learning to do so. I being a child (at one point) with Learning Disabilities know how important it is for both the teacher and parent to have patience and to teach the child at his/her own pace and way of better understanding, to be able to preform to the best of their ability.

  3. Nanny_cool March 26, 2013 at 4:45 pm #

    Always encourage but do not push and then make it fun. My granddaughter and I write letters to one another as she loves getting post. x

  4. crankycaregiver March 26, 2013 at 6:17 pm #

    My daughter shares her love of reading with her daughter and I share mine with both. I have spent many hours sharing quiet times with both while we were all engrossed in our books. You are wise to encourage your child and making it a good time will help him immensely! Great post!

  5. suburbanprincessteacher March 26, 2013 at 6:49 pm #

    Nice post. One thing I did with my son when he was younger and had some attentional issues, was type what he was saying as he paced the floor in circles dictating to me.
    Fast-forward to this winter. My son is now in Grade 12 and makes very good marks. But sometimes he gets overwhelmed and anxious. So, I suggested we do what worked back in elementary school. He told me what he was thinking and I typed it for him. It lowered his anxiety and I was able to read what I had typed back to him and ask him, “Is that what you wanted to say?” It worked great and was a nice way to reconnect.

    • iGameMom April 7, 2013 at 9:36 pm #

      it is great you do that. You find the way that helped him!

    • bloggingbyrgottier May 13, 2013 at 6:22 am #

      I used to be anxious a lot & had troubles with memory. I had to use what I saw or take a book & start putting down thoughts I had from the book to get rid of the anxiety I had. It took me a lot of years to figure out how to get past what I had for thinking when all I had was to study mostly & wait for the right time to ask or find something that would help me to talk about the subject I had problems with. My dad was always telling me & mom that I needed to work on my own homework or anything else. I had to work around that also to get help when I really needed it. I got to write later when my mind was cleared enough & took going outside to see everything to do poetry & some really short stories.

    • Danielle November 28, 2013 at 6:26 pm #

      What a fantastic solution! πŸ™‚

  6. Claudine Wooley March 26, 2013 at 9:02 pm #

    Both of my children enjoy writing. I think they enjoy writing and actually want to write for a few reasons. My children are 13 and 6 years old. My oldest attended a charter Montessori school until the 6th grade and now my youngest attends the same school. Part of their daily requirements at school, is to write in their journal. They started writing as soon as kindergarten. Granted, in the early years, it was very basic and mostly pictures. Now my daughter, who is in 1st grade, is writing daily in her school journal and they are good little stories about our family life. The children are allowed to write about anything at all. No rules…just to write. They have assistant teachers who help with spelling, but the children are encouraged to use dictionaries and help each other.

    Another reason I feel that helps a child to write…is reading. I have a secret wish…as do many…to write a novel. In my research on “how to” write a novel, I’ve read over and over by famous authors that reading ALOT helps the process of writing. But, I think that children need to read good quality books with proper English and grammar. I’ve read a few books with my children that used poor language and improper spelling. These books won’t help a child to become a good writer.

    When reading a story together, I think it’s a good idea to talk about the story, ask if the child liked the story and how it could be changed. For instance, after reading a book from the library, my daughter was unhappy with the ending of the story. She thought the ending was not complete and didn’t make much sense. So, I asked her how the ending could have been better? She came up with a new ending and I suggested that she write it down and draw a picture to go along with it. We taped her new ending into the book, temporarily of course, since it was a library book and every time we read it at night…we read her ending instead. She felt so proud of her new ending and it inspired her to write a whole story later.

    So, now my 6 year old is the author of two picture books. She creates the story and I type it for her. We read it aloud as we go…and she edits her story as needed. It’s really fun and I don’t pressure her at all. It’s her story and I think because she and I read so many books together that she’s learned how a story is formed and what makes sense. She illustrated her books on every page and she is so proud of herself.

    My older son, who is in middle school, is also a great writer. He’s super clever and comes up with some creative ideas. However, he’s been a little more conservative in his writing. I’ve encouraged him to keep writing, but again, I don’t want to pressure him. He has the talent, but he will come to it in his own time frame. His English teachers have praised him in his writing skills and I know that makes him feel more confident that he can write creative and well thought out stories.

    I think the key is to start children at a young age to write. It doesn’t have to be a big ordeal.. they can write about the day or anything at all. Just get some ideas on paper and read…read…read.

    • iGameMom March 26, 2013 at 10:46 pm #

      Oh Love the school!

    • bloggingbyrgottier May 13, 2013 at 6:39 am #

      It took me a while to be able to do anything at all. I started writing when I was by myself since sports was the only way for me to get my health problems up. I take in everything that a book has to offer & then decide whether to use it or not or put a new ending on it. It’s kind of like the movie called “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure”. I think it was in the 2nd of these 2 films that brought up several different endings for that film. Am not sure how it is for a family film, but gives an upcoming writer different ideas on endings too.

  7. reocochran March 26, 2013 at 10:09 pm #

    I think that this is very interesting and you are getting a lot of great suggestions. Writing can be about anything that is of interest to your child. I think being real can help. I am sure that there are everyday things that can start a story. I liked to use in my preschool classes, where I had children with different developmental delays, were pictures. Beautiful pictures from magazines. They would tell me what they saw and I would do what suburbandprinessteacher did, I would allow them to “dictate” and then I would write their words down. They were always smiling when I read them back to them. It didn’t matter what they said, I wrote it. Giving them the feeling of being in control and also that their words have value to them.

    • Amanda March 28, 2013 at 8:37 pm #

      How wonderful! I am going to try this with my three year old. Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful process.

      With love, Amanda

    • iGameMom April 7, 2013 at 9:38 pm #

      I agree, it must make them feel good when they hear what they wanted to say.

    • bloggingbyrgottier May 13, 2013 at 6:46 am #

      wow! that’s so good to hear. leaves kids happy & knowing that not only are they in complete control, but that no one else tells them that they have those abnormalities that keep them from thinking they aren’t as good as they think they are!

  8. rjc7 March 27, 2013 at 3:09 am #

    If your children enjoy using the web, Myths and Legends is a good writing tool to use. I have used this in the classroom and it has had a very positive impact. Two schemes that are very popular in Wales and are having a definite impact on writing are ‘Big Writing’ and ‘First steps to writing’.

  9. cariwiese March 27, 2013 at 12:21 pm #

    Lovely and informative post. I’ve been meaning to do some research on this myself! Thanks for visiting my blog!

  10. moore314 March 27, 2013 at 7:55 pm #

    This is such an important topic! As a former college professor, trust me, the writing is not so good. I hated giving writing assignments/research reports because I knew how they would come back. I was not an English prof. but I found myself correcting as if I was – the spelling, grammar and sentence structure was one thing, but not getting thoughts and ideas down coherently was another. It’s not a good sign for our country (ergo, we’re falling behind and fast!) and we are doing a disservice to our young citizens.
    Sorry for the rant! As you can see this touches me deeply. I hope other parents are paying attention like you are.
    Thank you for the follow and I look forward to catching up with your posts πŸ™‚

  11. Alisa March 28, 2013 at 8:19 pm #

    I’m so glad you left a like on my blog so that I had the opportunity to visit yours. Thank you. Such an interesting post to visit too. I will definitely check out This Reading Mama, I agree it is an essential skill. Thanks again for visiting. πŸ™‚

  12. Amanda March 28, 2013 at 8:35 pm #

    Hi iGameMom,

    What a great game! I hadn’t even thought about my son writing. He joins in on plot and characters creation during our spoken story time. As he learns to write, I will definitely play this game with him.

    Thank you so much for liking my blog post. I just love that you are so committed to children’s education.

    With love, Amanda

  13. dukelyer March 29, 2013 at 2:10 am #

    As a teacher I have found the way to get kids to see themselves as writer is to get them to write from what they know. All children have experiences and when they draw upon a time thy were scared or hurt they are much more successful than when they try to write of super heroes and faries and dragons.
    I hope you and your child find success πŸ˜‰

    • iGameMom April 7, 2013 at 9:39 pm #

      Thanks for the great suggestion. I will keep it in mind.

  14. Jenny March 29, 2013 at 6:04 am #


    Thanks for visiting my blog. Much appreciated. I find your blog on teaching your son to write interesting. Something I learned as an educator of boys is they can often be extremely reluctant to write. When they do get interested in writing (especially boys) it will sometimes be the most icky stuff (blood, guts, horror, etc.). Pretty normal…but it can sometimes freak folks out. If you get a chance check out Leonard Sax books on boys and or search for info on boys and writing. Jenny

    • iGameMom April 7, 2013 at 9:40 pm #

      Thanks for the recommendation. I will check them out.

  15. mormongirl11450 March 29, 2013 at 8:23 pm #

    I really like your blog I have a big family and I’m the oldest of six kids, so in all lists looking for ideas to keep my siblings busy.
    Also if using role plays, caution is advised. Just like any other web site it can have online predators, which some of my siblings have encountered before.

  16. Chelly Wood March 29, 2013 at 10:20 pm #

    Have you ever heard of Figment? It’s a place where kids can write stories and “publish” them for other kids to read. It’s sort of like a kid-version of Book Country. My own website, English Emporium (on WordPress) is also very helpful, offering kids a digital English Handbook with comma rules and editing guidelines and more.

  17. Kym March 30, 2013 at 12:07 am #

    I am not sure about the validity but unlined paper or an unlined surface helps stem creativity. Also a child tends to write how he or she speaks. Each case is different, but something to consider nonetheless. I hope this helps.

  18. AEL Data March 30, 2013 at 1:37 am #

    Reblogged this on AEL Data Services LLP.

  19. Amy's Fantastical Writing March 30, 2013 at 4:18 pm #

    For children that don’t seem to write anything, a strategy I have found useful at times is to show them a picture of something that interests them, and have them write what they think is happening in the picture. I typically have them say what is going on first, and question them when they seem stuck on an idea. Just repeating what they say sometimes helps them get their thoughts out. When they write their ideas, they typically write more as they think about their story.

    Thanks for visiting my blog!

    • iGameMom April 7, 2013 at 9:41 pm #

      That is a great idea. I will try for sure.

  20. lovelaughterandtantrums March 30, 2013 at 10:53 pm #

    Great article. Thank you for visiting my blog as I’ve enjoyed reading your posts. πŸ™‚

  21. qtrhrselady97 March 31, 2013 at 9:02 am #

    Read, read, read to your kids! I spent a lot of quality time reading to my daughters and they have turned out to be intelligent, beautiful women who love books. Keep up the good work!

  22. dbubble12 March 31, 2013 at 9:13 am #

    Fantastic post. My daughter is 2 so she’s not writing yet but the scribbles and reading lead her through the process. I am going to apply your suggestions just to spark the dialogue. How do you feel about those leapfrog computers and reading books? Are they a good tool? Thanks again.

  23. Tigress 00 Eyes March 31, 2013 at 8:06 pm #

    I think its time i forward the site’s address to my daughters, each with 2 kids.
    I am sure they wil find it interesting and helpful

  24. peakperspective April 1, 2013 at 8:46 am #

    My daughter and I decided to write a story together. Each night, after I tucked her in bed, but before she turned out her light, she would write one page of the story in a small notebook and leave it on the end of her bed. Before I went to bed myself, I’d come back up and take the book, sit in the hallway and write my page and then leave it on the end of the bed for her to find in the morning. It was a ritual that helped us be creative with one another, drive a plot line and work with a curve ball or two. Best memories ever. And one wild story to cherish. πŸ˜‰

    • iGameMom April 7, 2013 at 9:51 pm #

      I believe it will be a great memory between the two of you.

  25. derb523622013 April 1, 2013 at 2:05 pm #

    Thanks for visiting my blog. I’m just starting and I appreciate the advice you offer about linking back to your own site…I don’t have my own yet, but I’m pretty uneducated about how blogs work and I’m learning as I go. I would hate to think that over a year’s worth of writing could just disappear like that! Be well.

  26. tiffany April 1, 2013 at 7:55 pm #

    Wow! I was a teacher for 7 years and have worked with children, and none if that ever occurred to me!

    I taught Science admittedly, not English, but still! How extraordinarily simple, and such a great idea to do some research yourself…thanks for sharing!

    I managed to get my children into poetry from time to time, and I think some of the interest has stuck… eldest (stepdaughter is now at University studying English and writing wonderful poetry! I used to just pick a time when we were all sat at home, even their dad and grandma, for example on a cold rainy day or when nothing was on TV worth watching. We’d pick something that would be easy to imagine and have ideas about, and we’d have a little challenge to see if everyone could write a poem (it didn’t have to rhyme!). Of course the results were always a mixed bag but the rule is to reward each and every piece of writing with a ripple of applause! πŸ™‚

    One of my favourite examples was when we chose the humble ‘bee’…..we had a real buzz!!!

    Have fun with your children and all their stories yet to come πŸ™‚


  27. anouladela April 2, 2013 at 11:00 pm #

    while i was working with a class of third graders, we had this really fun game that they loved to play called Story Cubes. Its really neat! there are nine dice, each side of the dice has a different picture, you roll the dice and the kids come up with a story based on the pictures that they roll. my kids loved to do it because they could be as silly as they wanted and it would get them to practice their writing.
    i think that letting the kids know that their thoughts are valuable is such a great part; as you said, making them feel and know that they are authors.

    • iGameMom April 7, 2013 at 9:49 pm #

      this is a great idea. I can picture we do it at home too.

  28. Anne Bechard April 3, 2013 at 8:35 pm #

    GREAT suggestions! My parents had those same priorities, and I think reading and writing at a young age contributed to my relationship with words and how I express myself. Thanks for stopping my Feathered Spirit and liking my blog!

  29. Faith April 4, 2013 at 9:23 am #

    My kids are grown now. My girls used to love journaling and keeping “note” notebooks. They share these back and forth with a friend, or each other. We have found some of this writing now in their 20s, it’s great. They would write to themselves in the future, too. They were very inspired by “Amelia’s Notebook” and that whole series. The art and lettering in there was a big part of it. My son, their older brother, also enjoyed that concept (secretly) but was ADHD, had poor reading comprehension and was not much of a writer. Very verbal and visual, though. He grew up to be a storyteller (film major, then soc. studies teacher, aide to special needs as well). So a suggestion I have is to let them TELL stories, if they are not literal “writers.” To my point, my son, now 28, doesn’t even do facebook. He will make funny videos and post them on youtube, though, it’s something he hopes to develop as a learning tool for kids who are visual and verbal like him. You can get their stories down for them, and possible read them back… and you can film them too, as they tell them. Technology makes it so easy these days.

    Anyway, about your blog–you have a lot of followers and fans! Congrats. I think (if I might offer one suggestion, as a copywriter for money by original trade) if you could go through and just tidy up with a few edits yourself, for punctuation and formatting, grammar, etc., it would add another level of wow! You might be posting from a small device–I notice this a lot since I started on wordpress a few weeks ago, so I’m guessing. It seems like iPads and iPhones miss spaces or words here and there. Just a thought–when you have time, haha not so easy right?– because your content is neat, and I want you to have much more continued success. Thanks for liking mine too, though not too related!

    • iGameMom April 7, 2013 at 9:47 pm #

      Like your son’s idea. Make sure let me know about his site, I will take a look. I am all into new technology in education. Thank you very much for your suggestion on my blog!! I will try – I know it is not easy, mainly it is the time πŸ™‚

  30. regan222 April 4, 2013 at 10:07 pm #

    The gift of literacy is one of the best things you can give to your children. THanks for pausing to read my blog.

  31. maureenjenner April 5, 2013 at 4:01 am #

    I’ve always found that what we learn with pleasure, stays in our minds as good memories. Makes the learning process seem painless. Pictures remain when words are more difficult to recall. Getting children to talk about a picture often helps fluency; so it is with writing – one picture or photograph can be the key to a whole story. Just think how one photograph can unlock a host of memories. Literacy is the key that opens the door to the future for every child – and enables every adult.

  32. mrsjacoby19 April 5, 2013 at 4:17 am #

    I am definitely in need of this valuable website & information you shared!!! Thank you also for liking my poem. Blessings On You!!

  33. khariscourtney April 5, 2013 at 8:43 am #

    When I was little, we would have vocabulary assignments that involved forming a sentence using each vocabulary word. My mom would always review my homework and when I hadn’t done a very good job she would say something encouraging, but then say, “The only thing is that these look like baby sentences. How can you make them into big girl sentences?”

    And I would do my very best to write like a big girl. I know it seems like a small thing, but I really believe that putting an emphasis on complex sentence structure in those formative years affected my writing tremendously.

    • iGameMom April 7, 2013 at 9:43 pm #

      Good to know. Sometimes it is little things that make big differences.

  34. YemYola April 5, 2013 at 9:18 am #

    A brilliant and exciting process. It is a good read, a lot of things to take on board.
    Thanks for liking my articles on ‘Interaction…’ and ‘Building blocks…’
    Best wishes

  35. ashleycapes April 5, 2013 at 11:39 am #

    Great post! I especially like this point:

    “We should make the kids feel they are the author, meaning they decide what they want to write. It doesn’t mean we cannot offer ideas, but we should respect kids being the author”

    Which I believe is a great idea – as a teacher and a writer – I think the notion of authorship is very powerful when learning. Aside from an emotional investment, it allows them to add to identity I think.

  36. Author Charmaine Gordon April 6, 2013 at 2:04 pm #

    Terrific post. My granddaughter is five. I’m an author. We talk about a story and draw pictures and write a few words, turn the page and see what happens next. Thanks.

  37. somethingboutrenes April 7, 2013 at 7:59 pm #

    Hi there! Thank you for popping by and liking my post! πŸ˜€

  38. reimagineimago April 8, 2013 at 2:37 pm #

    I like the last point – using reading to teach writing, showing samples of how various authors use different genres to communicate their ideas can give kids the structure to be creative AND successful. It allows them to use their voice within a framework.
    Thanks for this post.

  39. The Hoarder April 8, 2013 at 9:28 pm #

    Thank you so much for this post. My daughter is 7 and blogs ( But these days she’s more inclined to write stories and my husband and I rather like her style. I was trying to find things I could do to help her and came across your post. The timing is just impeccable πŸ™‚ Thanks again (and for all the ideas in the comments as well!)

  40. 011415142513152119 April 8, 2013 at 11:38 pm #

    Reblogged this on 050120.1325.011919 and commented:
    good site, thanks for sharing

  41. VictoriaJoDean April 9, 2013 at 2:02 am #

    good ideas – I’m not a mom, but as an aunt, I’ve read plenty of books to kids and which I’d known this sooner. Thanks.

  42. Sara April 10, 2013 at 7:18 pm #

    This is

    • Sara April 10, 2013 at 7:19 pm #

      That was supposed to say: this was great info! Lol. Sorry about that. And thanks for checking out my blog!

  43. jamesbowmer April 11, 2013 at 7:52 pm #

    Hi iGameMom,

    Firstly, thanks for your like on my post, it means a lot! I found this post really thought provoking and I’ll definitely use these tips on my gap year teaching children to read and write in Malawi. Keep up the good work!

  44. Jim Maher April 11, 2013 at 11:07 pm #

    Any way we can get kids to be creative is great. If they’re not having any luck with prose, maybe short play might be more up their alley.

  45. shanette247 April 16, 2013 at 3:28 pm #

    Thanks for the insights. I have trouble in getting my children to write better, because I think they don’t comprehensively read. It’s a problem that we’re getting through – me understanding that they’re not me and therefore read and think differently. Your blog is very helpful – I appreciate your tips!

  46. Shauna April 16, 2013 at 9:57 pm #

    Great advice. Thanks for sharing!

  47. linleyk April 17, 2013 at 7:14 pm #

    What a fantastic resource your are providing all of us parents! Thank you so much. I look forward to following along to learn more.

  48. balsir April 20, 2013 at 1:27 am #

    Reblogged this on Bhutanese Teachers' Teaching at Trongsa Primary School and commented:
    Children and Writing

  49. Rachel April 22, 2013 at 4:49 pm #

    I’ve really enjoyed reading this post and all the comments! My children are definitely emulating what they see at home and we now have written stories as well as the oral contributions to the bedtime storytelling, which is very exciting. Good ideas here to keep their passion going too. We do read a lot together and I liked the tips on using their own imagination throughout the process. Thankyou.

  50. bloggingbyrgottier May 13, 2013 at 7:21 am #

    I love all the comments others have said to your blog on this subject matter. What I have put in on replies to others, I hope will help you as well. I have been doing my own writing as you tell from my blog posts especially the one you liked so much ” Life From A Miracle Baby to 5 Years of Age” & have another of 6 years of age because it was getting too long to try for a 5 year period. Thanks again for taking the time to read my posts on lynnsblogs!

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