Learning should be FUN! But Writing can feel so daunting for many kids. These 8 tips will help to make writing more fun in your household!
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Click here for the Episode on Graphic Organizers
Welcome to Decoding Learning Differences with Kimberlynn Lavelle. This episode is Learning should be fun Part two- writing. Children learn more when they're having fun. That was our principal last week with reading the same as this week with writing and other words, the same as next week with math. The idea is the, the, the truth is that when children feel stressed,
their brain is not allowing them to learn. When they feel frustrated, their brain is not allowing them to learn. When they feel bitter angry, their brain is not allowing them to learn. When we can allow fun to happen, relaxation, to happen, engagement and interest to happen. Kids are learning a ton. So learning should be fun ways to make writing fun.
I have eight ways that are listed here. Tips on how to help make writing fun. Number one, same as last week with reading. Enjoy it yourself. If you don't enjoy writing your kid knows that writing isn't fun. If you love writing, your kid knows that writing at least can be fun, even if they don't find it fun right now,
just, you know that you showing an enjoyment of writing less than know that it can be fun. Be careful with this. Do not tell them I love writing. Why don't you like it? That's just shaming them. Guilting them, making them feel bad about themselves. Don't do that. That's not who you are. No, no. We want to make kids enjoy it.
So just model it just right. Oh, I'm going to go do my journaling right now. Go journal. Right? Oh, let me write that. Write about that. Oh, I want to write a letter to the grandma, but just do writing journal, log it, write about it. Write letters, write stories, any writing that you can do,
any writing, writing out a grocery list. I can get a little bit if you, if you show that you enjoy it, any writing is good. Any kind of writing that you can show that you enjoy can be good. So number two, allow your child to choose what they write about. So if you're writing about something and you're not interested in that,
you're going to have a lot less to say, it's not going to be nearly as interesting or as good or as detailed. But if you're writing something that you're passionate about, you're going to have a lot more to say, if you require that your child write about trees and they don't want to, because they have no interested in anything that grows in the ground,
they might not have any, you know, it'll be super short. Trees are green. You're like, come on, you can be better than that. Right? And then you're like, you find yourself like kind of guilting them into trying to do better. But then the truth is it was not a good topic. They weren't interested. If they're super interested in basketball and maybe like a specific basketball player,
they might write a ton about that person. They, might've also done a bunch of research reading about that person. So the more you can use whatever they're interested in and don't just say, well, what do you want to write about? Because that can feel a little overwhelming, but you can kind of give a guideline like, Oh, we let's write about a famous person.
I've noticed that you really seem to be able to like Michael Jordan, sorry. I'm trying to think of basketball person, but I'm not basketball. Do you want to write about them? Okay. Then you can write about it. So whoever, whatever, kind of give them a little bit of parameters, a little bit of you can give them suggestions. Would you like to write about this?
Would you like to write about that? Don't make it a big, like forced thing. It just doesn't help much number three, use speech to text or dictation, voice typing. Those are just three different names for the same thing, whatever software that allows your child to speak into a microphone and have words appear on the screen. So that what they're saying is being typed out for them is hugely beneficial.
It takes off so much of the pressure. And so many of the other skills that are required with writing and allows them to just get their ideas out onto paper, especially if you print it out, but it gets them, they're turning their word, their verbal words into written words. And that can be so magical for kids to see their words becoming written words.
And it can feel like, look how much I wrote, right? They love to see that page fill up as they just talk. And it feels so easy when we make things easy for our kids. They're much more interested in doing it. They're much more excited about doing it. Little caveat with this right now, the technology is not punctuating. So like if you use Google docs,
voice typing, it's all free. It's awesome. But it doesn't punctuate. So I think end your kid needs to figure out where all those periods were supposed to go, or they have to learn how to say an entire sentence period. Say another entire sentence period. Right? They have to say the word period at the end of each sentence, both can work.
And it just depends on which one is going to be harder, your child to fix. Most of the time, most of my students start off by just saying everything they want to say so that their, their train of thought doesn't get interrupted. Then we go back together and help them learn how to figure out where their sentence ended. Period. Now I know the technology exists to add punctuation in.
So I'm looking forward to that being updated in the voice typing software. So like closed captioning, like automatic closed captioning software adds punctuation. So I know the punctuation, the technology exists. We just need it to exist in the, the word document software. So I think it's like a matter of time. I'm hoping within a year they got that fixed and then it's less stressful for the kids.
Okay. Number four is use graphic organizers. Now graphic organizers can feel stressful for some kids because it's an extra step to writing, but it can also make things easier because it helps guide them and figuring out what, to, what planning out the writing that they can then take to paper and write it out. So be cautious with this, think carefully about when to use it,
how to use it, how to present it, don't make it a, you have to do this before you do this and say, Hey, this is going to help us make the next steps so much easier. So today all we're going to do is do the graphic organizer and we don't even have to have to write in complete sentences. We can just write down our quick thoughts.
If you don't know much about graphic organizers, I did do a video on them back in 2020. So I'll try to remember to put a link for that below. There's also good resources reach out to me. If you want me to do another training on that, the general idea, there's different ones that exist. I personally use the company thinking maps has a series of thinking maps,
that they do their type of graphic organizer and there's different, different types of graphic organizers for different types of writing. So one of the most common ones that we use is a tree map. And you have like a big topic and then three columns. And in each column, there's kind of a sub topic and the information about it and the sub topic and the information about it.
So topic, information about it, and that's the thing. So you might want to use something like that to help with like essay writing. Okay. Number five, keep journals and logs. So when I think of a journal or a, I'm thinking about kind of just a daily reflection on something, you can get those like inspirational journals that give you topics to write about totally valid,
do that. If your kid is interested, there's some really great ones out there. Some of them also will work on like emotional development. And so there's some really great ones out there that I've seen. Logs can be something simple. Like the dog ate breakfast at eight o'clock, right? Like the kid could write about whatever they could be writing about us logging a science experiment.
My friend just started this with her son. I was so excited. He got a crystal growing kit. And so when they started it, she said, Hey, let's log it. So he wrote out, you know, day one, this happened and then day two, this like, so there is a log to watch the crystals growing and logging about the crystal growth.
So do things like that. You can log what you see while you're on a hike. You can log what you see on your daily stroll, around the neighborhood, whatever it is, keeping logs can be really interesting. Maybe you have a bird feeder and you're logging when the birds are coming to the bird feeder and which kind of bird, right. All of that is a type of writing.
And those types of writings tend to allow you to focus more on like the fine motor skill of like writing things down. It also is a skill on thinking through what is an important detail that I want to record. What is the purpose of this log? Why am I recording it? It's building a lot of scientific knowledge and understanding and thinking, okay,
number six, write letters to family, friends, or pen pals. People love getting letters in the mail. At least I certainly do. And most people I know do so if you start writing letters to family and then end it with right in the back, your kid is probably going to get letters back. If they wrote the letter or you can do it for them.
So doing things like that can really help bring in German to the person who wrote the letter to, and to your kid and yourself. It's just fun. That whole process can be fun. So start writing letters. Another way you can do is actually just, even within your own house, write letters to each other, right? Like you could leave a letter to your husband and a letter to your son and letter to your daughter.
And then they find their letters and they write their letters and maybe they choose to write letters back to you. And you guys can kind of turn it into a fun little thing. You guys can leave sticky notes to each other, all around the house. So anything you're doing to write to someone, those letters can be really fun and personal, very casual and just purely enjoyable.
I will say, keep it casual, keep it enjoyable. Don't get super strict with like correct friendly letter formatting. You can show them correct letter friendly letter formatting. But if they've already written the letter, don't make them rewrite it to be correctly formatted. It doesn't matter. It's a friendly letter. You were just sending it to a friend, just send them the letter.
Please. If your kid doesn't write much, you can write for them. So if your kid is at a point where like writing is beyond their, their current functioning academically, if they can draw a picture, if they can cut a picture out of a magazine that they like, if they can just color anything, if they can just even owe you something in whatever way that they communicate.
If your child tells you something and you can write a letter for them and send it, you are involving them in the writing process, you're helping them see the value of writing. And when they have that skill, they can continue with that love of writing number seven. This is the shopper in me. I happen to love shopping, but I'm constantly fighting against that.
So I also know that kids love having fun journals. Don't we all fun paper, fun pens to write with might be personalized with their name on it. It might be a character that they love. It might just be a beautiful brand, new number, two pencil. If you're trying to get your kid to write, and all you have is a bunch of broken bitten on busted up pencils.
That's just a lot of what I see in those schools. At least some really gross pencils. The kid's not as interested in writing you hand them a brand new pencil. They're much more interested in writing. Maybe it's a mechanical pencil. Maybe it's a smencil, they're like scented pencils. So they like, have you keep them in a tube to like,
keep the scent in. And then they have like a scent kind of like a scratch and scratch and sniff pencil. So it just depends a little bit. Right? So anything that gets the kid interested and excited about writing, whatever they're excited about. Sometimes it's a pencil topper, right? You can get like different pencil toppers. Some are really heavy and actually make the writing process awkward.
So I'd watch that a little bit, especially if your kid has any fine motor difficulties, but a really funny racer that they suddenly start playing that because it's like, like I've seen some that are like pieces of pizza that have like removable cheese and toppings and stuff. And they're like, this is so fun. I had some that were like spaceships, same kind of thing where you can like take apart all the pieces.
So it really becomes more of a toy than an eraser, but usually after they get over the toy parts, let them play through it a little bit then. Okay, we'll save that. And if you make a mistake, you can use it to erase, right? So anything fun that gets them excited about writing, maybe focus more on the actual,
like pen and paper than the racer, because those do become more of a toy, but Number Eight, this one might feel controversial. But I firmly believe in it. Number eight is do some of the work for your kid. This goes back to that principle of learning should be fun. And it should not. It shouldn't feel super easy, but it should definitely not feel insurmountable.
And for some kids writing feels insurmountable. They have to figure out how to form the letters and which way does B goes, which way does D go. And, and sometimes they just don't even remember how to make a certain letter. What is a Y look like? I haven't done a Y in a while. Right? Like I've had kids ask and not even super young kids ask me,
How do you make a w? Show them like that? Right? Like this. And then when they move on, so forming a letter can be challenging. Spelling can be really challenging. They have to keep in mind. All of those thoughts that they're trying to write about, they have to think about punctuation and capitalization and correct grammar, right? There's a lot of skill that goes with writing and all of those skills together can make writing feel insurmountable.
And that's why I suggested using a graphic organizer because that helps hold their thoughts for them. So they don't have to think about what am I writing about? It's right there. I can just look back at it. It's it's recorded for me. It's why I suggested voice typing because it takes away having to worry about fine motor or about spelling. It also will clue you when you do some grammar incorrectly.
So these kinds of skills can, these tools can help make writing easier for child. And if it's still feeling like too much for your kid, like an entire graphic organizer can feel like too much, right? The graphic organizer for them, with them. But you do the writing, give them, give them that as a gift, right. That you're going to give them the graphic organizer that they can then take and produce their writing with If Or you are the one that is typing out the essay,
because the voice typing can't understand what they're saying, or doesn't get that punctuation. And they just can't think about the punctuation again. Right? They get frustrated, they get overwhelmed. So help them do some of the work for them so that they can focus on the piece that they're focusing on. And they can feel successful in producing a piece of writing.
Because at the end, when you hit print or you show them what was written, they know that it came from them and that they are the author of that piece of writing. And that can feel so good. So please don't make it a, you have to do this and don't make it all. Well, I had to do it when I was a kid,
right? Like, it's not about that. If you want your child to enjoy learning and enjoy writing, then do what it takes to help them enjoy it. Starting with making it a little bit easier for them, by doing some of it for them. Now don't take over. Don't tell them what to write. Don't you can give suggestions. And sometimes I do that when kids like,
have no idea how to write a conclusion, of course, they don't have enough practice. I might give them three or four different conclusions that I've written out. And then they have to think about, well, which one do I like? Which one makes sense? You could even write some that wouldn't make sense. And so they can like end discuss why would this one not be a good conclusion?
So you can have those kinds of conversations, but do some of the work for your kid, help them feel successful so that they can have that finished writing piece that they can feel proud of. And then tell me, what did I miss? What else do you do to make writing fun for your kids? Email me. Kimberlynn@DecodingLearningDifferences.com.
I cannot wait to hear from you and I will see you again next week.