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Writing About Our Wiggles

Writing About Our Wiggles

If you’re a parent, you’ve likely heard that reading and writing are critical to your child’s overall academic and personal development. Most schools, teachers, principals, and pediatricians know that strong literacy leads to greater life success. Consequently, you’ve been encouraged across the years to read, read, and read some more with your child, starting with in-home read alouds.

But reading alone isn’t enough to grow highly competent, literate children. Instead, we need to partner reading with writing and grow our children’s ability to see themselves as good, creative producers of text. Think of “reading” and “writing” like an interstate—lanes go both ways, but both are necessary to get you to and from a destination safely. Similarly, reading and writing may highlight different skills or abilities, but they work together to build a stronger thinker and learner.

So, how do we foster the writing piece among our children? Reading is obvious, as we can always pick up a book for shared reading time or for bedtime stories. But how do we get our youth writing and enjoying the process without feeling like they’re being punished or being forced to extend the school day?

Well, based on decades of literacy research from multiple literacy gurus, here are simple tips to help you foster a love of writing in your home:

  • Model writing for different purposes. Let your child see you as a writer, even if it’s something as simple as making a grocery list or writing a check. It’s still writing. It’s a learning experience.


  • Offer choice and creativity. If your child loves to wiggle, then let him/her write about the wiggles. A child writer needs to feel passionate about their chosen themes.


  • Create a special writing space in the home and make sure they have lots of resources. Remember, you don’t have to write in pencil or black ink. It’s ok to write with a crayon.


  • Don’t censor the “scary” themes, especially if you have boys. It’s well documented that boy writers often love to write about dark humor, adventurous themes, and lots of gory, icky things. It’s kind of all part of just being a boy. So long as they enjoy the writing, let them write.

Finally, if you’re a family of faith, model the art of writing by showing your child how you journal about the Scriptures. Let your child see you taking sermon notes in church or while reading the Bible at home. Similarly, let them see you scribbling notes in a devotional book or writing a “Get Well” card to a church member.  Fostering good writers is about enjoying the process, and what greater joy could you, as a believer, find than that of writing a response to the Word.

Remember…reading and writing should always be enjoyable processes connected to your passions. Let children see you enjoying the process and they will follow suit.


By: Dr. Lori Brown is a veteran educator and consultant who supports literacy leadership. She is a writer who particularly enjoys helping families of faith blend their beliefs with strong academic practices.

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