How to encourage writing for a more engaging reading experience?
As we know, writing is a fairly recent achievement in our human development. Today, we do it for much the same reasons our ancestors did when they first took to stone, metals and papyrus. We still crave a way to leave our mark in the world, record our experiences about our world and share that experience with future generations.
When we give a child the simple tool of a pencil or crayon, the child will find a surface to stamp with a doodle,a figure, a number, a letter, a word, her name, etc. She will found a way to create. The symbols she knows, and those she makes up, will form the beginning of a story, her story.
A child who is not keen on reading, for the challenge it represents to her concentration, her ability and her will power, might find comfort in the blank page and the seemingly simple activity of “writing” down her ideas, actively creating. Also, this particular child might be more incline to read out loud her own story than the story of a stranger.
“Practice-reading” her own writing sometimes would mean narrating a story that is not actually written. From a single picture, a letter or word, the child might come up with a whole story. This is what we want. To encourage reading by providing meaningful experiences and giving positive feedback on her efforts to express her thoughts in writing.
“Practice-reading” will also engage her imagination, another great skill that’s needed for reading and making reading a fully immersed activity.
Here are some ideas on getting our kids into writing to read:
- Provide lots of paper, pencil and crayons.
- Older kids might be more inclined to write on the computer, or on a tablet. The important thing is to focus the activity on writing, not on web-surfing or play.
- Use every opportunity to write down ideas, thoughts, stories, to-do lists, shopping lists.
- Encourage the child to read back what they just wrote. Read the story back to you, be in charge of reading the items and checking them off the list while shopping.
These are simple ideas that can be easily incorporated into everyday life, at home or at school. We must remember that not all kids will run toward the bookshelves, some will do it even less when they start to face difficulty and get overwhelmed by the effort it takes to read. But all kids are inclined to talk about themselves, their families and the many interesting things they have seen in their short wonderful lives. As they feel motivated to talk about it, they can be motivated to write about it, and then, read about it!
Have you tried any of these, or other, writing activities to encourage your kids to read? Share them below!