Ways to Encourage Creative Writing
Motivating children to want to write is often one of the most challenging parts of teaching writing. One way that teachers are often able to persuade unwilling writers to write is to help them make the connection that writing has a function and purpose in everyday life. For instance, they have to know how to write in order to complete homework, make lists or write cards. However, as the world has become more and more technologically dependent (especially during the past year of remote learning), it has become increasingly difficult to provide a variety of opportunities to practice writing, particularly creative writing. When children engage in creative writing, they will naturally improve their writing skills specifically in the areas of vocabulary, sentence structure and grammar.
Fortunately, there are a number of ways parents can help develop and encourage their children’s enthusiasm for creative writing.
Prioritize the time and importance of writing: Obviously the more time a child spends writing, the better, but this can be complicated to fit into a family’s already busy schedule. Find a quiet place, provide a variety of materials and give your child some downtime every day (ideally) to explore and create. It would be even more meaningful if children see parents model taking the time for this as well, but at the very least, show an interest in what they write. A parent's undivided time and attention go a long way!
- Keep a journal or start a blog: Journaling is a safe space for children to explore ideas and process the events of life. The process of journaling can often help the writer make connections, develop insights and create new ideas which may generate topics for future writing. Furthermore, creating a blog is a beneficial way to use technology to practice writing for an audience. It is also a good way to begin to learn how to receive feedback from others as a tool to improve writing.
Give them freedom: Let children write about topics that interest them and in whatever they want in any form they want (short stories, poems, riddles, comic books, etc.) Don't worry if they make mistakes - the point is to get them to create as much material as possible. Younger children can even dictate to parents what they want to write.
Make it fun!: If they get stuck, use story prompts, words and pictures to help brainstorm ideas. Let them act out stories and play story games that involve building upon what someone else says, such as “Pass the Story” (https://www.fatherly.com/play/this-simple-storytelling-game-flexes-your-kids-creative-muscles/)
- Read!: Reading fuels creativity and writing so make sure your child reads every day! Make sure they read a variety of books and pay attention to the different ways the authors write. This will help them add diversity and complexity to their own writing.
Any questions? Please email us at Janice@Neighborhoodlit.com. Taylor Burke is a teacher and Director of Communications at Neighborhood Lit. and works closely with Janice Migliazza, a Reading Specialist and owner of Neighborhood Lit, Route 34, Colts Neck to bring you this information.