Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Writing About Reading: Day 2

For Day 2 of Writing About Reading for Share-A-Story, Shape-A-Future, I will only be answering one question and I will be doing it with questions for you!!!  I know that this is probably cheating, but isn't this week really all about the love and ideas we can receive from others?!?!  :)

Does your child enjoy writing?  How can we link reading and writing in ways that will motivate kids?

At the moment, I only have one child at the stage of writing.  He writes and he is proud of writing his letters, but I struggle with him to do particular activities.  For example, he recently had a birthday.  Because he is now very capable of writing, I required him to write his thank you cards this year to show his appreciation to those who celebrated with him or sent him gifts.  I helped him with what to write, providing him with options of phrases to include in the letter.  It was up to him to personalize each card.  We worked on this project for literally weeks, writing one card in each sitting.  He would often complain . . . my hand hurts . . . I want to play . . . I'm done Mommy!!

I didn't want to be too hard on him.  I didn't want to create negativity around this activity.  But, as I think back on it, I have to wonder if maybe I was pushing too hard.  I want writing to be fun for him.

I've talked to a fellow family member to see if her son would be interested in writing letters to my son . . . in essence, becoming pen pals!  However, I worry that the thank you cards may have put a stopper on this activity.

So, I guess to get to my answer to the above question . . . How can I make writing more fun?  How can I motivate my child in this realm of literacy?  How can I NOT be a mean mommy that makes my son's hand hurt from writing so much?  I could really use some ideas to create some positive thoughts around this one!!  What are your ideas?

[image credit: Share a Story Logo created by author/illustrator Elizabeth Dulemba.]


  1. Oh, Tif ... been there and in second grade we're still there. Getting my 8YO to write can be agonizing.

    Like you, we have required thank you notes for a while now. First we used pre-formatted ones where she added the gift and her name; now it's "from scratch."

    I like your pen pal idea ... or maybe a secret writer. You could leave a note with a question on it and then ask for a reply to be posted/hidden somewhere. Just one question about something he likes and space for a couple sentences. And he can ask 1 question about the secret writer in return.

  2. Terry Doherty . . . I love your secret writer idea!! Just curious . . . are you thinking the secret writer would be someone in our house? I got to thinking since we do not live near family, I could have family send letters with little questions on them as well! He wouldn't feel so overwhelmed with writing full letters, would receive mail (which is a big highlight for him!), and could be so encouraging!! Wow!! There I go thinking while writing again!! Thanks for getting my brain juices flowing on this one!! Another benefit of this week!!

  3. This is a great subject. My guy is in kindergarten and he has some problems with how he holds the pencil that they are working on at school. But because of this he really doesn't like writing. I think the only writing project he's had fun with lately was continuing a story that we read together. I think we might try that again soon!

  4. Tif, I feel your pain. You want him to use the skills he has now, even extend them a little would be nice. But you want him to love writing just the way he probably loves reading.

    As usual, there is no easy answer. But I have some suggestions. Writing out a whole letter by hand and then doing it again in a day or so and then again is a CHORE and how many of us love chores? Yet kids do need to learn that chores must be done, whether fun or not. It's just that I don't think he will learn to love writing that way. So you need to work out which is the most important to you.

    The one way I know to encourage kids to love writing is to make it fun. You know your son and what he would find fun, so maybe you can think of a project involving short writing, that would interest him.

    Does he love to draw? Maybe he would like to draw a cartoon picture and have the speech bubble express his thanks. Does he adore animals? There are cute little online spaces where he can record his own voice saying thanks, and have an animal character "say" it for him. Does he enjoy baking? How about fortune cookies with tiny thank yous inside? Does he like technology and might he be motivated by some of the online editors I wrote about for Share a Story, places where he can type his words and manipulate images to express himself?

    Email me if you think I can help.


  5. Kristen M. . . What do you mean by continuing a story? Do you read an already published story and then write an alternate ending or something? I'm very interested in hearing more!!!

    The Book Chook . . . These are absolutely amazing ideas and could be so much more fun than writing long letters!! He does love to draw and I love the bubble idea! This could be super cute!! I also want to try the story editor ideas that you have shared on your blog. I've bookmarked that particular post and intend to return to it again and again. Thank you again for all your help and I will definitely let you know if I need some more ideas!!


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