Today is National Encourage a Young Writer Day.
If there is a youngster in your world, encourage them to create a story. It engages their imagination and creativity, and may be something they’ll always remember.
When I was eight, my teacher gave us an assignment of writing a story. We could choose any topic that piqued our interest. I wrote a fictional tale inspired by my brother’s pet racoon. To this day, I can still remember both the story, and the amazing feeling I experienced while writing it. I think I even got an A on my assignment.
There are many ways you can encourage your budding wordsmith.
- Write about anything. Regardless of the topic (a cat in space saving a colony of mice or a dog in the old west acting as sheriff) it doesn’t matter what they write. Or even if all the child is doing is doodling or scribbling. Put a pencil in their hand and open their mind to a world of adventures and creativity.
- Keep a journal. Give them a notebook and pen or pencil to jot down their dreams or any ideas that pop into their heads. It will get them in the habit of writing down their thoughts. Years down the road, those journals will become something to treasure.
- Go outside. If children are reluctant to write inside (and it feels more like homework than something fun for them), send them outdoors! Fresh air and different surroundings may spark their creativity.
- Visit a library or bookstore. Being surrounded by shelves and shelves of books is a fun way to find inspiration. Introduce them to books you loved as a child, or ask for recommendations in newly released books.
- Read together. If your child is interested in writing a story with a horse as the hero, read a book about the history of horses or the different breeds, etc., together.
- Use prompts to get started. If your child is struggling to find a starting point for writing, to offering prompts. You could encourage the child to write a list of fun words then work them into a poem or story. Or have them fill in the blank with a prompt like, “I remember the first time I ____.” Ask them what it would be like to be someone or something else and then detail the things they would do. Encourage them to write about an object that they use everyday from the object’s perspective.
- Make a book. To give your young writer a feeling of great accomplishment, compile some of their writings into a book. You can easily do this with a folder, or make a book with cardboard covers, covered in fabric or paper that is meaningful to them. Have your child write a bio to include in the story.