Most school-aged children find writing to be the most tedious task they could possibly do. For kids, writing requires too much planning, research, thought, and handwork to be worth the time. However, good writing skills are incredibly valuable to have, and the earlier they are developed, the better. Understandably, some students need a lot of motivation in order to write. If your child is like this--try publishing their work. Publishing doesn’t always have to be taken literally--for my students, publishing is the act of sharing their work with others and owning it. Here are some fun, interesting ways that you can “publish” your child’s writing at home. Even if your child likes to write, these activities can keep them motivated and help them feel recognized.
- Create a “Writer’s Wall”
Use a cork board at home to create a “Writer’s Wall”. You can pin up some cut-out letters to spell your child’s name at the top, and have them decorate the board how they wish. Make sure the board is in an area of the home that will have relatively high traffic from family and friends--the point is not to have the writing hidden in a folder or taped on the wall in your child’s bedroom, but to make it “public” so that they can take responsibility for it and feel proud of it. On the Writer’s Wall, pin up copies of essays and stories your child has written, as well as pieces of writing that they have received good grades on. This visible reminder of their success and progress will keep your child motivated.
- Put on a Performance
Set up an area of your home as a “stage” with a special chair for your child where they will act as the “author”. Your child can dress up for this activity to make it even more fun. Make sure the spotlight is on them. Have your child read some of their writing aloud to you, friends, or family members. If you’re comfortable doing so, you can even film your child reading for them to watch later.
- Publish their Work--Literally
When one of my cousins was five years old, he wrote a story about his vacation to Wildwood, and my aunt and uncle put on a really cute event for him. They published his story, bound it together simply, and invited friends and family to come to a “reading” where they offered refreshments and let my cousin sign copies of his “book” afterward. This was a great way to encourage his interest in writing and recognize the hard work he had put in, and may be a good way to encourage your reluctant writer.
Writing can be boring for most students, but it doesn’t have to be. Kids are more motivated to complete an activity when they see some reward in it, whether that reward is a publishing party or an A-plus essay placed prominently on the refrigerator. Try some of these strategies to keep your student engaged in their writing.