Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Getting Young People to WRITE!

Creating A Home Atmosphere
That Supports Great Writing
The following article, written by NCBLA Executive Director Mary Brigid Barrett, comes from the NCBLA's Parent and Guardian Handbook:
Some tweens and teens have a natural compulsion to write, but many kids would rather clean their room, the kitchen, and the garage than complete a writing assignment. Providing your kids with a comfortable, supportive atmosphere is one of the best things you can do to help them become strong writers.
  • Writing is hard work, consequently, many kids put off writing assignments to the last possible moment. If your tweens or teens dread writing, encourage them to do their writing assignments first, before they do their other homework. Writing with a tired, fried brain only compounds the challenge. If your kids are given an assignment that spans a length of time, encourage them to address it early on to avoid the last minute "all nighter" syndrome.
  • Writing is an activity that is done alone. If your teens do not have a room to call their own, provide a space that they can claim as their own. It should have a comfortable chair to sit in and a surface on which to write. Some teens will write better while sitting on the floor or sprawled across their beds. What is important is that they have their own space.
  • Make sure you have ample writing materials on hand. Keep pencils, pens, erasers, lined writing paper, and computer paper in an accessible place in your home.
  • If you do not have a personal computer your neighborhood public library will have computers that your kids can use free of charge. Call your library and ask what times the computers are likely to be open without a long wait.
  • Turn off the television. Writing involves a great deal of concentration, and when writing informational essays and reports, a great deal of research reading, too. Television is a distraction your kids can do without.
  • Some kids write better in total silence and some kids write better with music playing lightly in the background. If your teens insist that music be playing while they write, suggest that they experiment with different kinds of background music. Make your kids aware that writing is both an internal and an external auditory experience, and the rhythm of their written words may be influenced by the music they play while they write.
  • Make sure that you have a dictionary and thesaurus in your home that is readily accessible. Encourage your teen to use them daily.
  • Great readers make great writers. Encourage your kids to read great books and magazines. And make sure you let them see you reading! Your example will be more powerful than anything you say.

Check out more helpful information to make literacy a priority in your home in the NCBLA's Parent and Guardian Handbook.