Help Your Child Become a Better Writer with Better Conversations
You can help your child become a better writer by seeing the world like a writer yourself. These tips will spark some illuminating discussions with your writer:
Notice details daily. Point out things you notice in passing like pink flowers blossoming, birds crazily swooping, or the sun slowly setting. See if you can turn paying attention into a type of game you play while moving through the world together.
Sort out facts vs. opinions. It’s important for writers to understand the difference between facts and opinions. Facts can be backed up with research. Opinions are an emotional or intuitive response, sometimes based on facts, sometimes not. Occasionally ask, “Hmmm, is that a fact or an opinion?” without implying that either is the wrong way to think.
Share opinions openly. Opinions matter. Feel free to express your opinion to your kids and don’t be afraid to frame it with words like, “In my opinion…” “What I believe is…” or “For me…” This way, you’re modeling how to have and express opinions in a responsible way.
Encourage differences of opinion. Start a conversation with “I noticed that…” then offer your opinion, and ask, “What do you think?” This way you are teaching that there are multiple ways to perceive any situation and you are open to hearing other’s views.
Weigh pros and cons. When a choice comes up, discuss the pros and cons out loud. This teaches comparing and contrasting, which comes in handy in strong writing. Be sure to consider subjective pros and cons, not just objective pros and cons. Instincts count.
Discuss individuality vs. conformity. Expect your child to be an assertive individual not a passive follower.
Speak admiringly about characteristics that make a person uniquely themselves. Invite your child to resist conformity when opportunities for expressing originality come along every day.
Welcome thesis statements. Encourage your young writer to take a position on any topic without fear of scolding or shaming. They can base positions they take on facts, opinions or both. Taking positions is a healthy mental workout that can lead to more rigorous and thoughtful self-expression.