Make writing more exciting for your elementary children by mixing it up a bit! Stimulate writing ideas through appealing books, colorful curriculum, engaging writing prompts, and personalized publishing projects—especially if you have reluctant writers.
What are you waiting for? Let the fun begin!
1. Use Literature to Model Good Writing
Engage your kids’ interest by reading books together. Explore genres such as mystery, adventure, humor, nature stories, biographies, and poems to give them a wide range of reading experiences.
Descriptive writing. When reading chapter books, stop to savor a paragraph that really develops a setting or a character through use of rich, descriptive vocabulary. Read passages that appeal to the senses of smell, taste, touch, sight, and hearing. Ask your child to identify words that evoke emotion or that bring a place or person to life.
Poetry. Read poems to explore figurative language such as similes, metaphors, and personification.
Picture books. Though it’s wonderful to share picture books with younger children, you can also use picture books with older children to teach elements such as structure, theme, problem, solution, and vocabulary.
Books as a springboard. Children can use a familiar story as the basis for writing their own story. One idea: They can follow a plot premise but change up the setting and characters.
2. Choose Curriculum That’s Engaging and Fun
No matter what kind of learner you have, teaching writing can be intimidating. Even if you’re a writer, it doesn’t automatically mean you know how to teach writing. How do you deal with a child who cries at the mention of writing? What do you do when a kid hates to hold a pencil but thrives on games, crafts, or physical activity? How can you take a subject like writing and actually make it fun for a reluctant learner?
For one, choose a curriculum that’s designed to spark enthusiasm through creative, hands-on activities.
WriteShop Primary is all about helping young children feel successful. Picture books, games, motion activities, and crafts create an atmosphere of enthusiasm for kids in grades K-3. If your child isn’t reading or writing, that’s OK. Every activity can be done orally.
WriteShop Junior introduces upper-elementary kids to the excitement of writing in different genres, including mysteries, science fiction stories, and short reports. To help them have fun while learning to write, lessons incorporate games, hands-on activities, and crafty publishing ideas. Even the editing process is fun!
3. Offer Kid-Friendly Writing Prompts
Writing prompts can serve a variety of purposes when teaching writing. Though I don’t recommend an exclusive diet of writing prompts, they can be great motivators. When the topic genuinely appeals to your kids, it can make writing more exciting.
Funny prompts. Make them laugh with writing prompts about unusual pets, funny topics, or silly “Would you rather…” ideas. For reluctant writers, humor can be that “spoonful of sugar” that helps the writing medicine go down!
Motivating prompts. Kids are more willing to write when they feel invested in the topic. Does your daughter love cats or horses? Is your son a Minecraft or LEGO fanatic? Are your kids crazy for robots, art, music, or the beach? There are exciting writing prompts just for them!
Printable prompts. Make it easy with free print-and-go writing prompts. They’re perfect for times when you’re working with one child while needing to keep another one occupied for 15 minutes or so!
StoryBuilders prompts. Printable writing prompt card decks and spinners let kids have fun with mix-and-match characters, settings, and plots. The results are often hilarious!
>> Adventure-Builder StoryBuilders: Printable Cards
>> Fantasy and Fairy Tales StoryBuilders: Printable Cards
>> Spin-A-Story StoryBuilders: Printable Spinner Prompts
4. Encourage Children to Publish Their Writing
Every child needs an audience—a person to encourage their efforts and applaud their creation. Publishing their stories and reports invites kids to share their very best efforts with Grandma and Grandpa, a favorite aunt, or a sympathetic neighbor. Here are some ways your children can publish more creatively:
Out-of-the-box book reports. Think of fresh new ways your child can share about a book. A book report sandwich, for example, is much more fun to write and share than a dry paragraph. If the book is about a fantasy world or exciting adventure, your child may enjoy drawing a map to accompany a brief written summary. His map can show all the places—real or imaginary—where the story happened. For more ideas, try some of these creative book reports.
Crafty ideas. Your kids might enjoy publishing their stories as a PowerPoint presentation, comic strip, mobile, walking stick, story quilt, or other creative project.
File folders. It’s amazing what you can do with the humble manila folder! Whether your kids use them to make clever flap books or simple report covers, file folders are one of the most versatile publishing tools around.
Homemade books. There are loads of ideas out there to help kids make simple books. I love these from Our Journey Westward and Jimmie Quick.
Lapbooks. Combining crafting, cutting, folding, and writing, lapbooks lend themselves beautifully to publishing little reports or responding to literature.
Projects. Reluctant writers often enjoy expressing themselves through other media. By incorporating drama, art, history, map skills, and more, writing across the curriculum lets children combine writing with other subjects, such as science, nature, and history.
Have fun with these ideas! There are so ways to make writing more exciting in your homeschool.