Friday, April 12, 2013

How to help kids develop as writers

 "We worry about what a child will become tomorrow, yet we forget that he is someone today." ~Stacia Tauscher

No imagination can parallel that of a child. What better time to begin planting the seeds of storytelling in our kids than while their creativity is at its most fertile and lively? My son began making books when he was very young, about three or four. Of course, he couldn't yet write. But he could draw. That's how young children tell stories, through their artwork. If you ask a child what any picture they've drawn is about, there will no doubt be an elaborate story behind it. 

It's a great idea to always have premade "books" handy for kids to draw stories in. All you have to do is fold several pieces of paper together and staple them down the side so they stay together. It's also a good idea to cover the stapled edge with fabric tape or decorative duct tape. 

As they learn to write, they can add words to go along with their drawings, or you can add their words for them. Don't worry about teaching them character development or story arch or anything technical until they're older. If you read to your kids, they automatically have knowledge of story and how it works. 

Read to them often. The more you read to them, the more likely they'll want to tell stories of their own.  Kids have some amazing stories to tell! 

Another fun game you can play with kids is a game my family used to play when there was a power outage. One person starts a story and someone else picks it up where they left off. Or even just making up entire stories and telling them to each other helps young minds develop a foundation for writing. 

Janet Lansbury's recent post on nurturing creativity is worth reading, as well. It helps us well-meaning parents to stay out of our children's way. Take a look.  
http://www.janetlansbury.com/2010/04/a-childs-creativity-how-i-learned-to-shut-up/ 

Tomorrow's post: Lies vs fiction

22 comments:

  1. Yes, it's good to help children the pleasure of writing. I write poetry and when at school it was the one subject I hated, yet I have been writing for 15 yrs now and have 2 books published, wished I had had the encouragement at school I could have been so much better .
    Great post, enjoy your week-end.
    Yvonne.

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    1. Isn't if funny how we change over time? I'm glad you found your love for poetry, Yvonne.

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  2. Kids' stories are great! When adults listen to them or read them, it reinforces what kids care about. Engaging plot and characters they can relate to: that's what they want.

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    1. I enjoy the stories I read to my son. I'll have to find an excuse to read children's books when he grows out of them.

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  3. I read to all three of my kids but maybe not early enough. The oldest reads a lot, the middle child mostly things alike Popular Mechanics, the youngest is a book or a series strikes her fancy. We'll see what happens with my granddaughter. I've been reading to her every night since she was ten months old.

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    1. That's such a wonderful gift to give a child.

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  4. It's so important to teach kids the importance of writing. It my mom hadn't taught me, I might not be one today.

    Happy A to Z blogging.
    pensuasion.blogspot.com

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    1. I give my mom a lot credit for my love of words as well. My fondest childhood memories involve snuggling with her while she read to me.

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  5. Really it feels amazing when kids weave their own stories !
    I love listening to my 2yr old nephew who weaves stories arnd evry thing
    fellow a to zer

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    1. They come up with fantastic stuff, don't they? Their imaginations are so uninhibited.

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  6. My elementary school had an amazing program where any kid who wrote a book could give it to a teacher and have it bound. In reality they were probably printing the few pages, then stapling them between a sheet of wallpaper for the cover, but it was like a gift from the gods. Such a great way to encourage kids to explore writing.

    John at The Bathroom Monologues

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    1. I wonder if you still have some of the books you wrote back then. I have one I wrote when I was about eight. It's about the hamster I had at the time.

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  7. Great suggestions! And good to staple together just a few pages...I notice if I give my sons larger notebooks the whole thing is filled within hours.

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    1. Ha! Yeah, my son has filled several notebooks in one day before.

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  8. these are awesome suggestions!
    i loved it when my mom read to us and i try to read to my boys as often as i can, tho they are getting too old, so they think!
    and i so enjoy the books they created and brought home from school.

    yay for reading! nice to meet you!

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    1. Nice to meet you, Tara! I'll be so sad when my son feels he's too old for me to read to him.

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  9. Love this post!

    I think all the standardized testing taking over our public school is choking creativity from the classroom. Must be tough being a music or art teacher these days.

    I was a teacher (high school), but I left after the No Child Left Behind piece of garbage was enacted.

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    1. Thanks, Jay! Yeah, I'm pretty disgusted with the public school system. I'm homeschooling my son. I think it's one of the best decisions I've made.

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  10. Ooh, power-outages are wonderful times to make up a story! I remember how my older cousins would try to make it as scary as possible, complete with plastic glow-in-the-dark horns. It was great fun.

    I'm passing these wonderful suggestions on to my aunt, who's wondering how to get her son interested in reading. Thank you :)

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    1. Thanks! I know, I loved power outages as a kid. :)

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  11. Great ideas...anything that stimulates the imagination and lets kids create is awesome.

    I bought some of these, a while, back and found they can really jumpstart a good story, as well.

    http://www.storycubes.com/

    Just in case you're looking for a gift for someone, or something :)

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  12. Thanks for the link, Mark! I might get some of those for my son! They would be a great addition to our home-school supplies.

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