Learn how to develop 'writing' skills in children!
Image source: My 7 years old daughter's notebook
In my previous article, I have discussed about the importance of READING for our children and how to inculcate good reading habits in kids from an early age
Now I am going to discuss a very important and crucial topic i.e. how to develop “WRITING” skills in our children. But first let us understand some basics of ‘WRITING’
What is meant by “Writing”?
Writing is a way of communication that empower us to express our feelings and ideas on paper, to organize our knowledge and beliefs into convincing arguments, and to convey meaning through well-constructed text.
What are different types of writing?
There are ‘four’ main types of writing: expository, descriptive, narrative and persuasive. There are other sub-types of writing which comes under these main types.
Let’s understand these types of writings in detail:
Expository writing: Expository writing is used to inform, explain, describe or define the subject to the readers. This type of writing can include essays, newspaper and magazine articles, instruction manuals, textbooks, encyclopedia articles and other forms of writing, where the writer intends to explain the subject to the readers. Another example of expository writing is "How-to" articles, where the writer explains how to build something or any process of doing something.
Descriptive writing: Descriptive writing is used to provide descriptions of people, places, objects and events through their vivid sensory words, so that reader can easily picturize the details in their mind. While reading the descriptive writing, the reader can imagine each word written about that scenario. Metaphors, similes and symbols are often used in descriptive writing. For example, writing a book, novel, poem, reporting on an even, describing a person/object etc. Common descriptive essay topics include my pet, my family, my favorite place, my best friend, etc.
Narrative writing: Narrative writing is used mainly for story writing. The narrator (writer) writes the story from their point of view, where their writing is characterized by a main character who encounters a problem or engages in interesting, significant or entertaining activity/experience. The sequence of events that make up a story is called ‘plot’ that defines how the story develops, unfolds, and moves in time.
NOTE: The main difference between narrative and descriptive writing is their purpose. A narrative writing is to narrate a certain incident or experience while a descriptive writing is to describe a person, a thing, or a place.
Persuasive writing: Persuasive writing is used to convince readers to believe in an idea or opinion of writer, which may influence the reader to do an action. The writings such as criticisms, reviews, reaction papers, editorials, proposals, advertisements, and brochures use different ways of persuasion to influence readers. For students, the writing of Opinion essays, Problem-solution essays, and Pro-con essays, are the examples of persuasive writing.
Now, there are two things which will be frequently used in this article, “Writing Seed” and “Writer’s Notebook”, as my main purpose is to encourage this approach of writing, which is one of the ideal way to enhance our writing skills.
So, let’s understand these concepts in detail.
What is “Writing Seed”?
A writing seed is simply a topic around which we start jotting down ideas. The seed could be a single word, a short phrase, a complete paragraph or even a picture, with the idea being to give you something to focus upon as you write.
The writing seed is also called ‘writing prompt’ or ‘seed idea’.
Seeds can also be anything like:
Photos of our favourite items, people and places
Tickets of events or places we have been
Cutouts from magazines or newspapers
List of favourite foods, movies, books, places you love.
ANYTHING that challenges, inspires or motivates us
What is “Writer’s Notebook”?
The writer’s notebook is a blank book where writer can put their writing seeds(writing prompts), in the form of impressions, observations, and ideas that may eventually serve as the basis for more formal writings, such as essays, articles, stories, poems etc.
The ‘writing seeds’ can be placed in writer’s notebook in the form of photo, text, cutouts, tickets, quotes, wordings, phrases, or ANY form of ‘seed idea’ which can be placed in writer’s notebook.
Prepare a notebook, dedicated for your kid’s writing activity. Teach your kid about it’s uses and the concept behind the writer’s notebook and writing seeds.
Please refer the image added in the beginning of this article. This is my daughter's notebook, where she collects her seed ideas for writing. In this image, her seed idea is "My Mom".
Different stages of writing
Gather writing seeds in writer’s notebook -->
Unpack the seed to start writing -->
Cultivate your mind with writing tools -->
Sow the seed in the soil of imagination -->
Make the seed sprout with ‘aura’ of writing
Gather writing seeds in writer’s notebook:
Whenever your child finds anything interesting, which can ignite their writing thoughts and make them expressive in terms of words, ask your kid to collect that object and put it in their writer’s notebook. In similar way, gather the seeds for writing, so that your child can write on that topic as and when he/she feels to write. Remember, the child can gather one seed at a time and start writing on that topic or may gather more than one seed for writing on it later.
Unpack the seed to start writing:
Help your child to unpack/choose one seed from writer’s notebook, whichever he/she feels like as per the mood of writing. Sometimes the child can be in mood of funny writing/ creative writing / emotional writing / story writing. So, the child only can decide which ‘seed’ or topic will match their mood and select a particular style of writing. If your child is unable to select, then help them to “unpack” the seed and flourish them to excel in their writing.
Cultivate your mind with writing tools:
The writing tools can be the things which helps to grow the seed of writing, which can be texts, words, thoughts, writing style, imaginations, tone, vocabulary, perception etc. All these things provide a perfect environment to make your writing, fully compatible with your mind. So, encourage your child to use these resources as their power and pour their heart out in form of writing about the topic they have chosen.
Sow the seed in the soil of imagination:
Place the seed or the topic into your imagination to have a perfect blend of the topic selected and the words used to express your thoughts. The child can relate the topic with the suitable style of writing to perfectly blend them together.
Make the seed sprout with ‘aura’ of writing:
The environment, timing, perfection, wordings, sentence structure, syntax, punctuation etc. creates an ‘aura’ around the topic(seed) selected, which makes the seed sprout and gives a sign of growth. When the child will able to write up their mind with these efforts, it will give them the sense of satisfaction and fulfillment.
Follow this interesting way to nourish your child’s writing skills, so that it grows with time and make a huge difference to their perception.