Comics: We have been having great success in our tutoring sessions lately by giving students either an illustrated comic strip without text that they must add dialogue to or letting them tell a story through writing a comic on a blank strip. Play to your student’s interests here to make this even more engaging for them. Does your student love comic books? Read those together and writing your own!
Mad Libs: A fun, silly family activity that will get your student writing (and reading). Further, Mad Libs activities will add to student’s grammar and comprehension skills as they work through various funny stories.
Scavenger Hunts: Our students in Spy Club have absolutely loved going on scavenger hunts, as well as hiding items themselves and providing clues to the whereabouts of these items. And the concept of scavenger hunts can easily translate into an at home writing activity—take turns hiding an item around your house and writing clues to indicate it’s location. For older students, this can involve multiple clues with little structure. For younger students, they may just write a single clue and you can provide the structure: “Look where you ______,” filling in the blanks with simple words such as “cook,” “sleep,” “read,” “eat,” etc.
“Texting:” No talking, just texting! Have a conversation to check in with your students about their day, an activity that they did or another area of interest, writing “text” messages back and forth together. For beginning writers, keep it simple, starting with “yes/no,” “good/bad” questions and progressing from there. Take this as far as your student’s engagement lets you!
Story Cubes: We have had so much fun with these in our classes and tutoring sessions! Think of a large set of dice comprised of characters, settings, problems, etc. Roll the dice and tell the story of whatever character and setting you roll. For younger students, let them tell you the story and then encourage them to write and illustrate it, recognizing that their written story may only be two or three sentences! You can make your own story cubes or find fun ones online. (Story Cube Sample: https://www.scribd.com/doc/69779417/Story-Cubes)
These are just a few fun ideas to get your started. Remember to create a safe space for your student to practice and learn during these activities. Let them know that it is okay to make mistakes. Let spelling errors slide, unless you are working on an activity that is centered upon word work. Let your student have fun with these activities without making them feel like it is extra homework through being positive and encouraging, focusing on their progress rather than their mistakes. And if they aren’t enjoying an activity, avoid forcing them to complete it. Writing is hard enough at school—let it be fun with you!