How to Encourage Creative Writing in Kids

creative writing

Do you have a child who loves creative writing?

I have a second-grader who is handed a sheet of paper at school for the topic of the day—one sheet with four lines—and comes home with those four lines filled out with prose, plus four additional papers stapled to the back of the writing sheet.

creative writing

Though the writing is an exercise in stream-of-consciousness thinking, I love the creativity that she finds in expressing herself in this way.

And just like with reading, creative writing offers many benefits for children’s development.

Creative Writing Benefits

One study done by the University of Sydney, which evaluated the impact of a creative writing program (Sydney’s Story Factory Workshops) on children ages 7 to 17, found positive impacts in a number of areas.

-better planning, organization and ideas

-enhanced ability to reflect and self-evaluate

-increased confidence to work with others

-more willingness to talk to people, particularly adults.

Other creative writing benefits include:

-Better mental and emotional health

-Improved communication skills

-An increased sense of empathy

And, of course the more that a child writes, the better his/her writing will be.

The Sydney study found an improvement in writing quality and an increased engagement with writing for longer periods.

Writing Prompts

To encourage creative writing at home, set aside some time and come up with some writing prompts for the kids to focus on.

(Though if your kids are like my daughter, they may not need prompts. They are FULL of ideas. For those kids, just a more general topic—like summer or happiness or pets—will be enough.)

Here are some fun prompts to get started:

-If you had one wish, what would it be?

-If you were stranded on a desert island and could only bring three things, what would they be and why?

-What is your biggest fear and why?

-If you were an animal, what would you be and why?

-If you could meet any fictional character from a book, who would it be and why?

-If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?

-Pretend you are a rabbit going down a hole. What do you see and feel?

-Pretend you are a yeti  and you are lost in our neighborhood. What do you see? How do feel?

The Yeti in My Freezer

-Invent a monster and describe it.

-If you were president, what would you do first? How would you dress, talk, etc.?

Read Every Day

Almost every author will tell you that the foundation for their writing started with reading.

How can you fall in love with writing if you don’t know what kind of writing you are inspired to read?

Expose your kids to many types of literature; fiction, non-fiction, poetry and so on.

Join a summer reading program at the library.

Find creative spots that encourage reading and creative writing.

Set aside a quiet time each day for your child to read.

Summer Time is the Right Time

Summer is the perfect time for kids to let loose with their writing.

Though they spend time at school on the subject, many times it is in a very structured environment.

At one of my daughter’s first elementary school conferences, her teacher commented about her writing that “we need to find a way to tone down her voice.”

What I think she was getting at was that she needed to focus her writing to adapt to standardized grading criteria for state testing.

At school, the writing may need to meet certain criteria as far as length and clarity and transitions.

However, at home, there are no limits on your young author’s creativity. A strong voice in writing is something to be celebrated.

Summer seems like the perfect time to explore that voice!

“Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.”

-Louis L’Amour, author

 

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