When you think about all that’s involved in teaching a child to write well, it can be overwhelming!! The subjects handwriting, punctuation, spelling, grammar, and vocabulary are just the start. They need to learn the challenging skill of expressing their thoughts clearly in written form. Add to the list the writing process, writing styles… writing a research paper, writing to persuade, writing personal letters… it can feel like a lot! Here is the first of four Helpful Habits for Writing Well #1: Creating a Literate Environment.
How can we teach our kids to communicate effectively?
There are many excellent writing curriculums out there, but I have also found that there are simple writing HABITS that can be used regularly to cover a lot of ground.
Kind of like a multi-vitamin or an all-in-one.
In fact, I have observed so many positive results from these HABITS in my own kids that they HAVE BECOME our main writing curriculum!
Four Habits for Writing Well
- Creating a literate environment- Reading quality literature of many genres, memorizing, and engaging in conversations.
- Copywork- Copying the best pieces from great authors.
- Narration- Reading or hearing a short story, verse, concept, or idea and expressing it back to someone in your own (first oral, then written) words.
- Notebooking– Journaling as a regular habit for life.
Helpful Habits for Writing Well #1: Creating a Literate Environment
How can you express something that you don’t possess?
Children should have a vast mental “library” of written ideas before they will be able to clearly express their thoughts in written word. I wrote more on this concept in the post Teaching a Child To Read With Two Important Habits.
Every child should be read to-A LOT! This can happen in small, scattered moments throughout the day, but it should be lathered frequently with pleasure.
We should be reading aloud to our children….A LOT!
In addition, as soon as they begin reading on their own, we should provide for them a quiet space and quality literature on which they can feast their imaginations.
This is giving them a bank, if you will, from which to draw as they attempt to form their own ideas about the world around them.
Ideas for Creating a Literate Environment
Here are some ideas to help cultivate a literate environment for your children.
- Read a variety of fiction to them including fantasy, historical fiction, folk tales, mystery, etc.
- Read non-fiction to them. What subjects interest them? What do they ask about or spend a lot of time doing? Get books on these topics and look through them together.
- Read biographies. Stories of great men and women of history inspire them to do hard tasks, overcome challenges, and be different.
- Read poetry. I like to read poetry by poet. When I find a poet I like or that I think the kids will like, I read some of their best poems over and over. Poetry should be read more than once to fully appreciate the meanings behind each word.
- Memorize together. You can memorize Scripture, famous poems of history, historical documents like The Declaration of Independence or snippets from famous historical speeches. Try learning the planets, books of the Bible, Presidents of the US, states and capitols, planets, continents, oceans, and more!
- Engage in conversations that make them think. Ask them questions. When they ask the questions, on the other hand, use their curiosity as an opportunity to start conversations that help them express their thoughts and feelings clearly.
A child can only express what they possess. Give them a broad foundation of knowledge and experiences with oral and written language. This will be a great starting place for communicating their thoughts in oral and written form.
Pin it! Helpful Habits for Writing Well #1: Creating a Literate Environment
Are you looking for ideas to help your child write well? These are simple and effective HABITS that you can use to prepare your children to be fluent writers.
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