9 May 2013 11:18 AM

How to Get Kids to Write More

by rbavaria

One of the most common questions we get here at the Dr. Rick Blog is, “How can I get my children to write more?” 


It’s a topic we’ve been interested in for years; just type “writing” in the search tool at the right, and you’ll see plenty of evidence.


Let’s return to the topic today and concentrate on fun ways to get kids to pick up their pencils or tap on their keyboards for ten minutes a day – a good rule of thumb I made up.  A little longer for older kids. 


We don’t need convincing that writing a little every day is good for kids.  We already know that.  When they write regularly and often, they enhance their creativity, sharpen their thinking, and improve language arts skills like grammar, punctuation, usage, spelling, and logic.  Making writing routine gives kids plenty of practice time, and we all know how practice improves just about any skill.  Ask any athlete.  Practice like a champion.


We also know some ways to organize our kids’ lives to make a writing routine easier.  Turn off screens for a while.  Everyone in the family do it.  Set good examples.  Show how we adults admire good writing.  Come up with a cool family writing project.  (I like the one where everyone writes a little something on a common topic – “My favorite friend” or “My best birthday” – on a page in a paper or electronic notebook.  Take turns suggesting a new topic every day for a week or a month – or a year.  At the end, you have a beautiful family-written book.)


But where we run into challenges is when the kids begin to cry, “What can I write about?”  We’re limited by our own lack of imagination.  Here are a baker’s dozen ideas I’ve come up with either on my own or with the help of other teachers and parents.  They’re followed by some popular quotes kids can respond to.


  1. If I could be a superhero, I’d be . . .
  2. If I had three wishes, I’d wish for . . .
  3. Let me tell you about a time when I was brave/afraid/shy/happy/proud . . .
  4. Here’s how to make my favorite sandwich . . .
  5. Here’s why I love my favorite toy/game/Dr. Seuss character/sport/ teacher . . .
  6. Here’s a story about a fish who’s afraid of the water/a bird who’s afraid to fly/a squirrel who’s afraid of heights/a lion who’s afraid of mice . . .
  7. There was a dinosaur in my living room one day.  Here’s what happened . . .    
  8. I wish I knew how to . . .
  9. Let me tell you about lunchtime in our school cafeteria . . .
  10. Here’s what I’d tell a new student in my school . . . 
  11. I think the weirdest pet/game/fad/clothing/story/animal is . . .
  12. The dumbest mistake I ever made was . . .
  13. I didn’t mean to embarrass my mom, but one time I . . .
  14. “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”  Winston Churchill
  15. Learning is not a spectator sport.
  16. If you follow the crowd, you might get lost in it.
  17. I’m in charge of my own mood.
  18. I will be a blessing to someone today.
  19. Who gossips to you will gossip about you.
  20. I want to be known for my talent/enthusiasm/helpfulness/kindness/attitude . . .


If these aren’t enough, here’s a website with some cool ideas. I also like this one .


The important thing is to make writing a daily routine.  Texts and emails don’t count – they’re similar to writing but only like my splashing in the pool is like Michael Phelps’ swimming.





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