father and son reading
The Write Things To Do

Amy Thomas
Teacher/Elementary Instructional Coach

Reading aloud is a special bonding time between adults and children. It is said the more children are read to, the better listeners and readers they will become. What about writing? How can writing be incorporated into your child's daily routine so that they become more fluent, written communicators?

There are many ways parents can incorporate writing into their child's daily routine. The following are some helpful suggestions…

Allow your child to help create lists for the grocery store and other errands you may be taking throughout the day. A wonderful book to read together is Bunny Cakes by Rosemary Wells. In the story the character Max uses scribbles, pictures, and symbols to communicate to the grocer what he needs to make a cake for his grandmother. (The same developmental progression most children follow as they too learn how to write and spell…) Children can relate to Max's frustration when the grocer can't seem to understand what Max writes, but also see his perseverance in finally getting the task done.

Use pictures of family trips and special events as story starters. There won't be a loss for words when your child is the main character if their own picture story! Writing a story with the aid of a picture is a fun and creative way to experiment with writing dialogue, as well as painting a vivid picture of the setting and characters. You can take small steps with younger children by having them write the captions under pictures in a scrap book or photo album.

Journaling is another fun way for children to explore the written word and collect ideas for future stories to bloom! One of my favorite resources I use in classrooms, as well as at home with my children, is Ralph Fletcher's book: A Writer's Notebook Unlocking the Writer Within You. Fletcher believes the best ideas for writing are living inside you. Your challenge is to "dig them out". He offers countless suggestions and "seed ideas" to help generate stories and poems.