There's no doubt about it - good writing skills are keys to success. From resumes to business letters, writing skills can greatly influence your child's future. In addition, he or she will be more likely to perform better in school if he or she has good writing skills.
So what can you do to help your child develop writing skills?
Here are some tips.
1. Read to Your Child - Interactively
Most parents know that reading to your child is important for developing all language skills, including writing. But research shows something interesting: how you read to your child matters. A really good article from Highlands Today. With everything being electronic nowadays, they also have apps that read to your child. Some that I know of are the Kindle of course, then some others are: MeeGenius, Disney Storytime, Epic!, and FarFaria Stories all the for iPhone, but I'm sure there are others for Android.
It's good to read often and to read quality books, but studies show that it's equally important to allow the child to participate in some way. Some ways you can let your non-reader participate are to ask your child questions about the story as you read, point out objects in the book's illustrations and ask your child to name them, or ask your child to re-tell the story (or portions of it) in their own words.
2. Easy Access to Writing Materials
Encourage your child by having paper, markers, pencils, crayons, and so forth handy. For paper, you can use both lined and unlined. A well-lit table or other level surface should be available all the time. For writing material I've heard these Ticonderoga pencils are really good but expensive. If they're not in the budget then maybe some regular old #2 pencils or colored pencils will do the trick.
3. Talk about Drawings
Attach words to images. Ask your child to describe their drawings by asking specific questions. See if they will tell you a story about the picture, or if they will draw other pictures to illustrate progressive action. My boys are always drawing pictures of their favorite tv shows like Power Rangers and Pokémon.
4. Comic Strips
Reading the comics is a great way to get your child to read from left to right. The colorful, fun images and easy-to-read lettering tend to appeal to children, too. I myself always liked reading Garfield and Family Circle.
Type or write while your child tells the story. Ask them to come up with a story about a pet, drawing, friend, family member, place, or whatever interests them. Then write it down and read it together. If they haven't illustrated it, ask them to draw some pictures about the story. Or another fun idea is to add in your own silly thing while they are telling you theirs, so when you read it back to them, they'll get a kick out of it :)
6. Include Your Child in Everyday Writing
Let your child write something on the grocery list, or sign birthday cards. They can write down chores on a list, too. A dry-erase board is great for this. This dry erase board would be perfect because it already has lines.
7. Writing Games
Play with your child so that they can write. If you have a pretend store set up, they can write the price stickers. Is your child interested in roads and highways? They can make road signs for the hallways and rooms. My boys have made "speeding" tickets to give to each other when they are riding their bikes or scooters. Maybe they could write-up a menu so you could play restaurant. My boys always do this when we make something easy for them to serve or we have leftovers that just need to be popped in the microwave. Get creative, and they won't even "know" they're writing!
With a little creativity, you may just have a budding writer on your hands! Hopefully, your child will do better in school and succeed in life because of his or her writing skills.
Got anymore ideas? Share them in comments.