The Joy of Teaching – An Evan-Moor Blog

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How to Get Your Child to Write: Tips for Reluctant Writers

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shutterstock_368296496If your child doesn’t jump at the chance to write stories, this post is for you.

I understand this issue firsthand because my daughter was a very reluctant writer. She was an avid reader and very expressive in her vocabulary, so I expected writing to be a natural extension for her. Boy, was I wrong.

She flat-out refused to write for me in kindergarten. In first grade, it was her most dreaded activity in our homeschooling. She didn’t want to write anything if she was going to misspell it. She didn’t feel free to just write her thoughts and THEN come back and edit later.

How did I encourage my daughter to write?

  • First, I quit asking her to write. As in, I really told her that she was taking a complete break from writing for a while. She was relieved!
  • Instead of having a writing lesson, I began role-modeling writing for her in various ways: shopping lists, thank-you notes, and sharing my thoughts in our family journal.
  • I didn’t use my best handwriting on the shopping lists, and I used abbreviations (like P.T. for paper towels).
  • I made mistakes in our family journal so that she could help me edit for grammar, spelling, and punctuation. I drafted my thank-you notes quickly and then took my time writing them neatly on the actual thank-you card.

Once she had seen that writers are just sharing thoughts, even when they are not in perfect form, she removed the pressure she had put on herself. She began to write…and write and write.

img_4619-4615Resources for reluctant writers:

If you have a reluctant writer, I know a terrific resource that uses a secret that good teachers know about writing. When we give kids a blank piece of paper and ask them to write, it can be overwhelming. However, if we give a little inspiration, writing becomes much easier.

Evan-Moor has a series called Draw Then Write (grades 1–3, 4–6). It teaches kids how to draw something (like an animal) in quick and easy steps. Then simple questions get your child thinking (and writing – GASP!) about what the animal might be doing. There are no wrong answers, either! It is just a place to let your child’s imagination be free to think and write without being overwhelmed. Check out THIS SAMPLE ACTIVITY and use this free download with your child (from Draw Then Write, grades 4–6.)

Prefer digital? Try the Draw Then Write app, available for iPads for only $3.99. This app is recommended for children in K–3.

Once my children are comfortable writing, we start working through the Daily 6-Trait Writing series. I also adore this series because the lessons are fun, focused, and quick to share strategies that good writers use in their writing.

Does your child like to write? Let me know in the comments!


Amy Michaels ProfileAmy Michaels is a certified teacher with 11 years of elementary classroom experience who is actively homeschooling her own children. Her mission is share the best teaching methods and resources with all homeschoolers. Amy supports parents through her podcasts, webinars, and online training for homeschoolers on her website www.thrivehomeschooling.com.

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3 Comments

  1. My third-grader LOVES Draw Then Write! As a homeschooling mom, I was worried about my reluctant writer, he just hated writing. But, he has really enjoyed learning how to draw some of his favorite creatures, and the writing prompts just make things so much more simple.

  2. I’m going to check out the Draw then Write series it sounds exactly like what I need to get my son to write in a fun way without added stress. Thank you for sharing!

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