10 Activities for Sparking the ‘Writing Bug’ in Your Child

  • Exposure to writing— as early as possible— creates the foundation for strong comprehension skills for readers, a better grasp of grammar concepts, and a lifelong appreciation of writing in all its forms. Here are some activities that may spark the “writing bug” in your child …

    • Keep a notepad and pencils or pens handy around the house and in the car. At home, ask your child to write down items for the family’s shopping list. In the car, have your child write down the sights he or she observes during a road trip.
    • Encourage your child to keep a writer’s journal. Ask him to share his journal so you can read and discuss his writing. You also could make the journal a two-way writing project, writing your own responses, compliments, or questions in return.
    • Write to a friend or relative in another city. Remind your child that everyone likes to receive mail. Help her begin a pen-pal exchange by writing a letter about her favorite activities or a special event or memory. Ask the friend or relative to do the same.
    • Ask your child to write what he likes best about his favorite story, observations about the main character, or a specific event that happens in the book.
    • Watch “The Author in You” on GCPS TV with your child, and then ask him to write down three things he learned about the featured writer.
    • Help your child write his own book. Create an “idea jar” of writing prompts, such as “my favorite place to go,” “why I like my room,” or “the game I like best.” Mix them up and have your child pick a prompt and write about the topic. Let your child illustrate the pages with drawings or photos. Your child can collect all the pages and print out his own book, or use an online program to “publish” the completed book.
    • Start a “what happens next” story with your child. For example, you could write, “I went to the store and smelled some delicious cookies in the bakery. When I asked for a chocolate chip cookie, the baker gave me chocolate cake instead. And then…” Allow your child to write what she thinks would happen next, and end with “and then,” so you can pick up the story and continue.
    • Make up and write down a silly rhyme and challenge your child to create her own in response. For example, you could start with “I ran to the door and saw a giraffe on the floor.” Ask your child to create her own answer with rhyming words.
    • Attend Literacy Night events at your child’s school and author talks at the local branch of your public library. These are valuable opportunities to hear authors talk about their work, the experiences that inspired their writing, and the strategies they use to keep themselves motivated to write.
    • Ask your child to “interview” an older relative about his or her childhood during a family visit, then write about what he learns. Find some terrific conversation starters from StoryCorps, a national oral history project.