Encouraging Young Writers
by Ralph Fletcher
1) Let your child see you write. Demonstrate both real world writing as well as writing for fun.
2) Look for comfortable, low-pressure “writing occasions” where both you and your child can write and share.
3) Get material (notebook, blank paper, markers, pre-made booklets) to make writing enjoyable.
4) Tips for responding to a young person’s writing:
- React first as a reader. Show how the writing affects you by responding to the meaning: “This is funny!” Or: “I didn’t know that!”
- Try not to fixate on spelling or grammatical errors.
- Be positive. Build on strengths. Find specific things to praise in the writing.
- Respect the child’s ownership of the writing.
- Suggest another reader, or a real-world purpose for the writing: “I bet Grandma would love to read that!”
5) For our youngest (pre-K and kindergarten) writers—
*Remember that much of the meaning is carried in the drawing. Show real interest in the drawing as well as the words.
*Think of emergent writing as early talk—full of approximations and errors we can delight in. These are necessary.
6) Keep reading to your child—even when he or she gets older.
7) Remember that writers of every age break easily. Be gentle.
- A great resource for young writers. Ralph Fletcher's writing tips page.