As parents and teachers, one of the best things we can do is to help students understand that writing is a tool and, like a swiss army knife, can be employed in many useful ways. Here’s just a quick list of uses for a pen and paper:
Even though most people in our lives are a phone call (or FaceTime) away, there’s something special about getting a letter in the mail. Even a message sent via email or text message can be a great way to connect with someone who’s far away. Write a letter to a loved one with your student!
Who doesn’t love a thank you card? Make a habit of writing them with your student this holiday season. Not only will they practice grammar and spelling, they’ll be building socially conscious habits for life.
Whether or not your student wants to be a lawyer, there will be countless moments in their life when good writing can help someone see their point of view. Applying for college, scholarships or a job? Better have a convincing application. Want that new bike for Christmas? Your letter to Santa needs to make it pretty clear why you deserve it. Next time your student wants something, help them write a persuasive argument to better get their point across.
The value of lists cannot be overstated in this frenetic age. Enlist your child to help write out the grocery list, a list of what to pack for vacation, a list of books to get at the library, etc.
To spread beauty
A well-crafted phrase is truly a thing of beauty. Try writing a poem with your student! What a great way to practice word choice and editing in the name of art.
Last but definitely not least, writing for a purpose can start at a very early age. Before students are old enough to even know letters, they can draw as a way to tell a story. In our pre-K program, we support and develop emergent writing skills through lots of time to draw and verbalize thinking. Reading aloud is a great way to support writing as well. The more stories children hear and see, the better they are able to write them themselves.