April 10th is Encourage a Young Writer Day! Every April, we celebrate the talent of our nation’s youngest writers.
Do you have a fledgling writer in your home? Or are you looking for ways to encourage your child to write more?
From tweens and teens to preschoolers and elementary school kids, here are five easy ways you can support the budding authors in your life on Encourage a Young Writer Day:
1. Read and discuss their creative work.
Writing can be a solitary endeavor, but writers need outside help. Offer your young writer positive feedback and encouragement. When big things happen in your child’s life, please encourage them to write about those experiences. While the act of writing benefits literacy and comprehension, it serves as an emotional outlet for your child as well.
Be their audience! Writers want to feel heard.
When you read your child’s creative work, focus on the “story stuff” (aka plot, characterization, theme, etc.) instead of grammar. After all, they want to show you what they created from their rich imagination.
Perhaps they want you to listen without offering any feedback at all. That’s ok! When you read their written work, you tell them you care. Loving other people, especially our children, means investing in their hobbies and interests. Make sense?
Validate their creativity. Don’t underestimate the power of positive reinforcement.
Say: You are a writer!
What better time to sing your praises than on Encourage a Young Writer Day!
2. Give them space and tools to write.
Create a writing space for your child. It doesn’t have to be expensive or extravagant! It can be a desk, a comfy chair, or a space on the couch. Make it a place your child loves.
Gift the young writers in your life lots of journals and pens. My youngest son writes prolifically, and he prefers Moleskine journals for his work. If your young writer loves to create comics, consider purchasing a blank comic notebook for them.
When my children were in preschool and kindergarten, their grandmother folded pieces of paper and stapled them together to make little blank books for the children. My kids filled these with elaborate illustrations and stories. We have 100s of these, and I treasure them dearly.
You can use construction paper, scrap paper, etc., to make your own blank books. Creativity for Kids makes a solid 3-pack bundle of itty bitty blank books for kids as well.
3. Sign them up for a writing class or workshop.
Google local writing groups or writing classes for kids in your area. Here in Cleveland, we have several local arts centers that offer writing courses for kids as young as 7. Through the years, several of my children have enrolled in these programs.
Your local library offers tons of free programs for your kids. Many of these activities can be done virtually, especially right now with the COVID-19 pandemic. All of these activities are free.
A quick search of my local library’s youth writing events for April yielded these results:
- Celebrate Poetry Month for All Ages
- Teen Open Mic Night
- Virtual Teen Writing Workshop
- Poetry Power for Grades 3-5
- Virtual Teen Writing Club
Do a quick search of your local library and look for opportunities for your young writer to learn more about their craft. These groups make a good place for kids to connect with other kids who share the same interests.
4. Celebrate Encourage a Young Writer Day by collaborating on a chain story.
First of all, what the heck is a chain story?
It’s a story written by multiple authors, each picking up where the previous one left off.
How to collaborate on a chain story:
- Grab a journal or piece of lined paper.
- Write an opening sentence or prompt. You can find dozens of writing prompts for kids online.
- Hand over the story to your young writing partner.
- Ask them to add a sentence or two to your original prompt.
- Pass the narrative back and forth throughout the day, both of you adding your creative ideas and text.
- Once you finish, read the story aloud together.
What a super fun way to get involved in your child’s writing life! You’re sure to laugh and bond over what you’ve written together.
For more information on chain stories, see Want to Spark Your Child’s Creativity? Try a Chain Story.
5. Give your child a book on the craft of writing.
Writers are always looking to hone their writing skills. What better way to celebrate Encourage a Young Writer Day than to give the gift of books, especially books on writing.
These are five books on writing for kids we own and love:
Anne Mazer and Ellen Potter mix inspirational anecdotes with practical guidance on how to find a voice, develop characters and plot, make revisions, and overcome writer’s block. Fun writing prompts will help young writers jump-start their own projects, and encouragement throughout will keep them at work.
Gail Carson Levine shares her tricks of the trade. She shows how you can get terrific ideas for stories, invent great beginnings and endings, write sparkling dialogue, develop memorable characters—and much, much more.
Here are ideas, experiments, and inspiration to unfold your imagination and get your writing to flow off the page! This is the everything-you-need guide to spark new poems and old stories, including lists of big, small, gross-out, and favorite words; adventurous and zany prompts to leap from; dares and double dares to help you mash up truths and fiction.
From idea to first draft, you will learn what every story needs to be successful. You’ll find your story and create three-dimensional characters people will want to read. You’ll learn to hook your reader and how to structure and craft a dynamic and powerful, page-turning plot that will have readers wanting more.
Aspiring writers love to dream up stories…but getting them down on paper may be a challenge. This book is bursting with creative ways to help youngsters craft all types of stories. With this essential guide to writing and a little bit of imagination, kids can write their best story ever!
Mark your calendar. Celebrate a Young Writer Day is on the horizon!
I hope this post inspired you to support the young writers in your life. Consider getting more involved in your child’s writing life by doing one of the activities outlined above.
Like what you’ve read? This month I’m offering more freebie journal prompts for kids. Consider signing up for the MamaBookworm newsletter to get them delivered straight to your inbox!
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