Want to make sure your child knows how to write? Here are 6 tips

Want to make sure your child knows how to write? Here are 6 tips

When your child writes something, resist the urge to correct it, one expert suggests. (Photo: Getty Images) Whether your child struggles with school essays or wants to be the next J.K. Rowling, what can parents do to encourage strong writing skills? Bestselling author and UNC Asheville alumnus Wiley Cash says the first step is to turn off the screens whether they are electronic devices, smartphones or televisions. “It sounds so snarky and predictable, but it’s true,” Cash said. “Our girls, ages 4 and 2, turn to books for entertainment like I turned to video games when I was younger.” Reading, and understanding what you’ve read, prove vital in becoming a strong writer. Read, then discuss “We always talk about the books we’ve read,” Cash adds. “This makes the books and their stories and characters live beyond the page. The books begin to feel like life. We also make up alternate versions of the stories and sometimes I’ll tell stories that combine characters from different books. Our goal is to make literature feel like life, which means we’re trying to make it feel essential to life, because we believe it is.” Let your kids read what appeals to them, then discuss it. “This makes the books and their stories and characters live beyond the page,” says writer Wiley Cash. (Photo: Christopher Futcher/Getty Images) Tommy Hays, executive director of the Great Smokies Writing Program and lecturer in the master of liberal arts program at UNCA, says it’s important to be flexible in book choices. “I advise parents to not only encourage their child to read, but to encourage whatever the child likes to read, not what we want them to read,” he says. “Never criticize your child’s choice of reading. Just celebrate that they are reading.” Encourage, don’t correct As your kids start using their imagination to craft their own stories, be careful about how you respond to their written words. Hays says he encourages parents not to do a lot of fixing when it comes to their children’s creativity. “I would suggest that parents not correct their children’s writing but to simply notice back to them what they’ve written,” said Hays. “I also think parents shouldn’t correct how their children speak, shouldn’t correct their grammar or rephrase things for them, or tell them, ‘You mean to say…’ “One of the biggest problems I see in writers of all ages is they don’t sound like themselves in their writing. They sound like what they think someone wants them to sounds like, and I think this alienation from one’s voice starts at a very young age,” he continued. “The whole point of becoming a writer is to inhabit one’s authentic voice and how can anyone do this if one’s head is filled with what parents or teachers or other significant adults say they should sound like.” More tips to foster good writing Other ways to encourage your child’s writing skills: Journaling. Present him/her with a journal to record daily thoughts, experiences, and […]

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