Many parents know that instilling a love of reading into your child is important, but many fail to realize that it is just as important for children to learn to love writing at a young age as well. As with reading, good writing skills are important no matter what profession or occupation one pursues. It is more than simply a matter of academics. Here are a few tips on how to help your child write well.
1. Encourage your child to keep a diary or journal.
Keeping a diary can often be thought of as a childhood activity, mainly undertaken by girls; however, many older people and boys keep journals too! Not only will keeping a journal or diary help your child’s writing skills, it will provide them with a keepsake of their childhood that they will cherish as an adult. There is just one catch: It is counter productive to try and force your child to keep one. Instead, when they have an assignment to keep a journal (I can think of several instances in which this occurred throughout my education), encourage your child to keep with it, even long after the assignment has passed.
2. Have children write thank you notes for gifts received.
By having your child or children write thank you notes for gifts received throughout the year, you are helping instill good manners, as well as good writing skills. Even though many people think that this custom is passé, writing a small note is a valuable skill to have. For example, during the job search, it is always advisable to write thank you notes after the interview. Your child will be ahead of the game if he or she had to write thank you notes as a child. The best way to instill this behavior into your child (or children) is to simply model this behavior yourself.
3. Talk to your kids about their writing assignments.
Chances are that your child or children will have several writing assignments all throughout their educational experiences. Why not ask about their assignments and provide encouragement? You may be able to provide lots of great ideas and tips. That is much better than doing the assignment for him or her. Also, being willing to proofread the assignment once the assignment is completed. You might not catch everything, but you can help. Insist that your child or children proof-read the assignment themselves first.
4. Encourage your child to learn a second language.
Learning a foreign language helps in many academic areas, but it is particularly good at improving reading and writing skills. If kids learn how to read and write in another language, he or she will not be the least bit intimidated when asked to do the same in their native tongue. In addition, learning the basics of another language helps clarify English grammar. For example, as a woman holding a degree in Spanish language study, I was shocked to learn how to conjugate verbs when I first started learning Spanish. I was then able to conjugate verbs in English, even though that was not how I was taught the English language. In other words, learning another language helped me to appreciate the complexity of the English language.
As with reading, writing skills can open a world of opportunities. Instilling good writing skills in your child not only helps academically, they are put to good use in real life as well.