3 Ideas to Encourage Kids to Write at Home and at School Part 1 of a 7 Part Series

Children love to scribble and draw with pencils, crayons, paper and maybe even on the walls.  

I know my grandkids would scribble something on a piece of paper and I would say. "Read this to me." and they would "read" it back usually saying it says "I love you or I had fun or maybe something silly, but they knew what they wrote and what it said.

It is on this premise and experience that you and I know that kids have ideas tucked away in their heads ready to spill out on paper or walls!  

With that being said, this is Part One of a Series of Blog Posts about how to encourage your students or children to write more at home and at school using some basic principles I have learned through my years of parenting and teaching! Ideas that you can put into practice immediately after reading this post!

Writing is so important for all children, yet can be so difficult for some.  

They want to know how to spell but you as a teacher want to get them to get their ideas on the paper so their ideas...those thoughts, those experiences flow onto the paper easily without hesitation and still what echoes throughout your classroom, "How do you spell dog.  How do your spell because?  How do you spell where???"

So how do you support your students to feel confident and take risks with their writing?  Good question right? 

One way I found and I am sure many of you already use this method is to encourage “Kid Writing” everyday...everytime children are writing at home and/or at school.

Some kiddos are hesitant to take risks and write without knowing how to spell, but if you make it non-threatening and support young writers with positive feedback on what they are writing, they will take risks and begin to use creative spelling to spell more difficult words writing the sounds they hear.

This is a win-win situation.

As you circulate around the room, have the kiddos read what they have written. I always asked if it was okay to write adult spelling below their writing so I remembered what they wrote. If that doesn’t work, then write it on a sticky note with their name. Anyway you do it you are learning so much about your students!

Why is this Important?  

✎  You can learn so much about a student’s phonological awareness and other writing skills simply by analyzing Kid Writing! 

1.  Does the student have beginning sounds, ending sounds, digraph, affricates and/or medial vowels?

2.  Do they have an understanding of what letters spell a word but maybe they are not in the correct order?

3.  Are they using some conventional spellings of sight words? 

4.  What do they know and what do they still need to learn?

5.  Do they have capitals, end marks or an understanding of words and sentences?

I can tell from this sample:

  • The writer has some conventional spellings of my, his, love and is.
  • I notice the writer needs to work on blends and digraphs as the writing is missing "br" and "th" in the word brother, also "br" in Brady. "Pr" is missing from practice.  
  • The writer has learned that that the "ea" vowel combination says "e" but it is not used properly in the word he.  
  • Also, the silent "e" in the word name is not used. That is something to work on as well.
  • The writer does not hear the difference between "n" and "m": at the end of words.  
  • She is more on a Phonetic spelling level., but does understand some conventional spelling words and patterns. 

What do you notice?

So much data can be collected to discern where each child is to drive small group writing, phonics and reading instruction!

How can we encourage parents with supporting their children at home with writing?

✎  Now you have your students on board with "Kid Writing" but what about all the parents grinding their teeth with their children spelling words incorrectly at home?

1.  Talk to parents:  I always chatted at back to school night or in a special meeting, if needed, explaining what spelling expectations I have or the district has for the grade level taught.

2. Send an example of 'Kid Writing" like the one here to show them first hand why this type of spelling is desired.  

( this is a free resource in my TpT Shop)

3. At back to school night or conferences show exactly what you can learn using a sample of "Kid Writing" and show what phonemic skills and concepts that example demonstrates.

✎  Have parents consistently encourage writing at home.

To do this send home a list of ways to encourage children to integrate writing in their everyday life.

Here are some ideas to include in your list or for parents to try:

  • Write lists for gifts they might want at some future point.
  • Write thank you notes to grandparents, aunts and uncles, sisters and brothers...anyone really!
  • Keep a daily or weekly journal to write about their experiences...what they like to do or don't like, how a sports game or ballet class went.
  • Keep a feelings journal.
  • Create the grocery list for family shopping.
  • Create a "to-do" list for the week.
  • Have your child write a list of chores that need to be completed.
  • Create a writing spot in your house or classroom where kids can simply write with various media: pens, colored pencils, markers, magnetic letters or whatever. Don't forget to include different types of paper!
  • Encourage writing to friends who live far away or not far away!
  • Label things around the house or draw pictures and hav your children label the picture.
  • Praise you children for what they do know..."Wow, you knew that beginning sound or ending sound...Way to go!"
  • Write some journal entries together where you write a sentence and then your child writes a sentence.
  • If your child wants something, have them write you a note convincing you to get what they want.
  • Respond in writing to a favorite book, movie or television show...even what they like about a favorite video game!
  • Make a list of what they observe on a car, airplane or train trip...even what they see around the house, restaurant or even while at a sibling's play, dance or game.
  • Create a non talking day where everything you need or want has to be written down!
  • Give your students or children some fancy pens and props to use while writing.

There are so many more ideas that you can come up with to add.

Remember this is the first part of a series focussing on writing at home and at school.  There is so much more to come...so don't forget to check back for more. I have so many ideas tucked away to add a little pizzazz to writing at home and at school!

See you next time!