SchoolFamily Voices

Connie McCarthy is passionate about her work as a teacher of young children. She has devoted her entire career to making sure that her students do well at school, right from the start. Connie has an undergraduate degree in Elementary Education, and a Master’s Degree in Special Education. She has been teaching first grade in East Providence, R.I. for 23 years, where she received the distinction of “Highly Qualified Teacher” by the Rhode Island State Board of Regents. Connie also taught nursery school for four years, and published numerous articles on early education in East Bay Newspapers in Bristol, R.I. She’s also been published in PTO Today Magazine. She lives with her husband, Brian, and has a daughter and a son, both young adults. Connie enjoys reading, writing about elementary education, and taking long walks with friends. During summer vacations, she likes to travel with her husband. She also loves reading readers’ comments on her weekly blog posts.

Help Your Child Become a Creative Writer

There are many simple and effective ways to help your child become a more creative writer. Here are three easy activities to promote creative writing with your young child. Each activity should take about fifteen to thirty minutes to complete.

  • Most writing experts agree that pictures are a child’s first attempt at “writing.” Ask your child to draw a simple pencil sketch, such as a house or a cat. Then ask her questions about her picture that will encourage attention to detail, such as: “What color is your house?” “Does it have a garden?” Then give her crayons or markers to color the sketch. When she’s done ask her to tell you a describing sentence about her picture and print her words underneath. For example, “My big, blue house has a colorful garden.”
  • Take a few photos of a family occasion or event. Help your child put the photos in order. Then paste each one separately on the top of some lined paper. Help him write a sentence or two about each photo. Put the sheets with the photos and sentences into a photo album, to create his own “picture book.”
  • Give your child a small notebook to start their own writing journal. Give her a “story starter” such as, “When I got up this morning, I saw…” “If I could fly I’d…” “I dreamt I was a…” If writing a sentence is too difficult, let her make a picture. You can add the words for her until she can do it herself.

When you build writing time into your child’s everyday life, their ability to create a story will soar!

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#3 Chanell Gautreaux 2010-12-01 17:14
Pictures are a great way to spark writing in both kids and adults! Exercises that help kids understand descriptive words and their use are helpful also.
#2 Robin 2010-03-28 18:09
I really enjoyed your tips. As a kindergarten teacher, this is exactly what I tell parents to do as well. The best stories from a young child comes from prior knowledge of their own life and experiences.
#1 Sheila 2010-03-27 02:45
I especially love the third idea of giving your child a notebook and a 'story starter' sentence. I am going to cut a bunch of paper strips with 'story starters' on them and put them in a jar and every day have my child pick one and write a bit in her Creative Writing journal! Thanks for the ideas/tips!

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