Yesterday I reviewed Laura Gehl’s engaging, wonderful picture book One Big Pair of Underwear. Today is my pleasure to have her stop by the blog and discuss ways to encourage and inspire kids to write.
A big thank you to Darshana for hosting me on this stop of my One Big Pair of Underwear blog tour.
Darshana asked me to talk about writing with kids. Many authors agree that a big part of becoming a good writer is simply to write as much as possible. Most of us have about a zillion bad stories to write before we write any good ones. So here are three techniques I love for getting kids excited about writing:
- New Ending: Take a familiar story, whether a fairytale or a favorite picture book, and write a completely different ending. (Note: for parents, this is a good opportunity to take the annoying characters in the books your children have forced you to read over and over and kill those pesky characters off. Or at least orchestrate a move to Antarctica.)
- Character Swap: What happens when Elephant and Piggy go into the Three Bears’ house and find cooling porridge? What happens when Cinderella visits a farm and finds cows with a typewriter? Kids will love transporting characters from one favorite story to another and writing about the chaos that ensues.
- Editors’ Club: For older writers, have each kid type up her or his story and save as an MS word file. Then ask kids to swap stories and use “track changes” to edit one another’s manuscripts. For kids who have email addresses, Google Drive is another great option to allow kids to comment on one another’s stories.
With the holidays coming up, you might also want to consider gifts that encourage kids to write:
- Very inexpensive: Blank lined notebooks with new pens and pencils
- Slightly more expensive but still cheap: Blank books without lines for writing and Some are simple blank books such as these and some come with stickers, markers, and word prompts, such as these. You could also throw in some pens that write in multiple colors, which are lots of fun.
- Splurge: There are several companies that will take your child’s illustrated story and bind it into a real hardcover book. One company is Illustory, but there are other options as well.
If you’ve already done your holiday shopping, you can teach kids to fold their own “books” out of regular paper. Check out one method for this here.
I wrote another post recently with additional ideas for getting kids excited about writing. You can check out that post at http://mrcolbysharp.com/.
Laura Gehl is the author of One Big Pair of Underwear, illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld, as well as four upcoming picture books: Hare and Tortoise Race Across Israel; And Then Another Sheep Turned Up; Peep and Egg: I’m not Hatching; and Peep and Egg: I’m Not Trick or Treating. Her own kids love writing stories…including, recently, The Maze of Death (K, age 10); The Gangster (N, age 8); The Presidents (S, age 6); and The Rainbow, the Butterflies, and the Giant