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Let's Write!

One of the most important parts of knowing how to write well is to feel comfortable doing it. The magic in writing comes from the ideas you have. Let ideas flow, as they would if you were talking. The beauty of the written word is that you can always go back and make changes: rearrange the ideas, correct the spelling, add new ideas, take out ideas that don't fit. The important thing is to think of writing as a reflection of your thoughts.

Here are some things you can do:

Writing Activities

Scribble Scrabble

for young children

  1. Pick some of your child's favorite animals, book or television characters, or people he or she knows to write about.

  2. Plan a story, talking about what happens to the characters.

  3. Ask your child questions: "What happens after Jose finds the magic box?" "What do you think Emily would do to get away from the bear?"

  4. Have your child write down the story in comfortable ways, using scribbling that looks like writing, using letters and words that he invents, filling in pictures for words.

Investigative Reporting

for more advanced writers

  1. Have your child gather information by interviewing someone in your family or your neighborhood.

  2. Together, choose questions for the interview. Did the person live during a particularly exciting time in history? Did he or she accomplish a major achievement? What does the person do for a living?

  3. Look at examples of written interviews in magazines. Using this format, have your child write down the responses from the interview.

  4. Have your child edit the interview to cut out ideas that are repeated, to remove halting phrases such as "uh," or "you know", or to put the information in order by topic (sometimes when people talk, they jump back and forth from topic to topic).

Read What You Write

for writers of any age

  1. Reading and writing go hand in hand. Have your child read school assignments aloud.

  2. Explain that when you read, you should listen to how the writing sounds by asking yourself
  3. Encourage your child to read with expression, emphasizing the words in the sentences that are most important to your child.
  4. Encourage other children who might be listening to ask questions about the writing.

Resources: Resources: Information was taken from research by the National Center for the Study of Writing and Literacy and the Helping Your Child series of books for parents. For more information, please contact the National Library of Education, 555 New Jersey Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20208, telephone 1-800-424-1616.

U.S. Department of Education
Richard W. Riley

Office of Educational Research and Improvement
Sharon P. Robinson
Assistant Secretary

National Institute on Student Achievement, Curriculum, and Assessment

National Institute on the Education of At-Risk Students

Please feel free to reproduce this information


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