Distance learning writing struggles are extremely common with children. Some students struggle with fine motor skills. Thin pencils or pens to write in between narrow lines are scary! Others have difficulty organizing the thoughts in their heads. In response, the adult might pull away from writing, lighten the workload, or modify the activities to make them shorter. These strategies definetely work, but they might condition the child to crave lighter and easier activities.
In our experience, a child’s desire to write has more to do with their understanding about how to start, what to write, or why they are writing. By increasing knowledgeable and security, along with interest-based topics, a desire to write naturally grows!
Below are a few suggestions to increase a child’s desire to write, while maintaining a high standard.
Teach In Steps (Teeny, tiny baby steps)
Here is one example that would take place over one full month and possibly two:
- Review how to write a proper sentence (capital letters and punctuation, adjectives, nouns, adverbs, expanders).
- Review Opening, Details, and Closing Sentences: How to identify them and how to write them.
- Perhaps lead into 3 Paragraph Essay Writing following the same system.
Make Writing Systematic for everything but Free-Write (Descriptive, Expository, Persuasive, Narrative, Technical and Poetic)
When children have specific perameters and “rules” they often feel more safe to try something new (even if they act resistant!). Free-Writes are a great tool. By defining that Free-Write is open, and practicing it specifically, children a safe space to write openly without revision or critique. Outside of that safe space, students can explore how to write using other formats in a more systematic way. Depending on age, this can be done generally (Desriptive = Adjectives) or specifically (Persuasive Writing includes a minimum of 3 supports for your side).
Before Writing Comes Clear and Concise Story-Telling
It may not always be a joy listening to your child tell a story or make up a story. If you want your child to love writing, though, listening to them telling stories can easily translate into, “Can you write that down for me so I can save it for later?” or “Can you write that wonderful story down so we can send that to your Grandma?”