Friday, March 1, 2013

Teaching Kids To Write - FUNDAMENTAL!!

Teaching kids to write is one of the most fundamental and important things that you can instill in your kids. In my opinion, writing is one of the most under-assigned homework activities. As I look at the homework assignments that my kids bring home each day, it seem as though there's always a bunch of repetitive math problems and plenty of reading, but not much in the way of writing assignments. What happened to reading, WRITING, and arithmetic? I remember the school yard verses about the things you hated about school as a kid, but it seems like a major component of that classic rhyme is being left out.

The reason I started thinking about this in the first place is because my oldest son recently had a standardized state writing test. My concern isn't so much whether he could write complete sentences that follow a particular order or string of events, but if it's legible. I love my son more than anything, but if his life depended on being able to write clearly, he might not make it...He's always been very smart and ahead of his level in most subjects, but with writing, it's like a race. He tries to write as fast as he can to get his thoughts on paper as quickly as possible to so that he can get away from the desk and to his friends' houses as quickly as possible. He is a kid after all. He just wants to play.

So, is being able to write still relevant today with all the computers and smartphones and tablets available? Or, is writing old fashioned and out-dated?  Teachers are still teaching kids to write, of course, but it wouldn't hurt to spend a few more minutes on writing at home. Maybe I'm just old school, but I feel like I remember things better when I put pencil to paper. And not just that, but it helps improve writing and creativity. It's nice to come up with things that aren't being forced into my brain from a computer screen or TV.

This got me thinking about what my kids could do to improve their writing legibility and organization and it hit me that it could also be a good creative outlet for them. Kids have amazing minds and seem to be more receptive to things that we rule out as inaccurate or foolish as adults. As I thought about the benefits of writing (not just know HOW to write), I decided that I should encourage both of my boys to write more for a few reasons, such as  improving legibility, learning problem solving skills, opening their imaginations, learning to express themselves, having fun and so many more reasons that are only going to help them in the short term ans long run! And it's so simple! All I needed was:

  1. A lined notebook
  2. A list of writing topics
  3. Assign a writing topic each day
  4. Write a paragraph to a page about the topic
  5. That's it

This accomplishes everything I want my kids to get better at. Practice  makes perfect! And the coolest part is that often times I will find my kids having fun and getting lost in their writing, creating crazy funny stories that keep me entertained as well. Ultimately, being able to write will put kids above and beyond the average person in the real world, especially when it comes to things that matter...like getting a job. Your child may not end up to be a famous author, but it's pretty much guaranteed that knowing how to write will help your kids in many aspects of life. Teaching kids to write well should be a regular part of the homework routine and it only takes a few extra minutes each day.

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