When young authors start to write, they are sometimes confused about where to begin. Often, having one good idea gets them going! Here are six ways to let the author in your child bloom.
Use a traditional pattern: Suggest that your child follow a logical sequence: “The gorilla at the zoo was so loud! He hit his chest with his fists. I had to cover my ears. My friend Jason just laughed and laughed! Jason tried to imitate the gorilla all the way home.”
Use a different pattern: For example, have her think about an experience that really made her laugh. Let her tell you about it. If the most exciting part is in the middle of the story, let her start there. Then she can go back and add the beginning. Finally, she can write forward from the middle to the end.
Rewrite a classic: If her favorite classic story is The Three Bears, have her tell it from Baby Bear’s point of view! Putting a new twist on an old favorite helps her think about the story in a more creative way.
Be a reporter: Let her pretend to be a news reporter and interview a grandparent, aunt, uncle, older cousin, or good friend. For example, she might ask an older cousin how he got interested in playing the guitar. Or, she might ask her grandmother what school was like when she was seven years old. Then, she can write a story about her grandmother’s memories.
Provide a collection of simple story-starters: On small index cards, write 10 different story-starters that are of interest to your child. Keep them in a small container or box. Some examples might be “What do you like to do on a rainy day? Or, on a sunny day?” “What’s your favorite animal and why?” “Why do you like dinosaurs so much?” Use these to inspire new stories.
Create a writing box: Stock a shoebox or other container with paper, crayons, colored pencils, markers, and other supplies so that writing and illustrating is always easily accessible.
Doing simple activities like these with your child can spark a lifelong interest in writing!
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.