7 steps to improve creative writing by Dr. Nicholas Correa
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7 steps to improve creative writing by Dr. Nicholas Correa

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7 steps to improve creative writing by Dr. Nicholas Correa 7 steps to improve creative writing by Dr. Nicholas Correa Presentation Transcript

  • How to Improve Your Child's Creative Writing Skills A Session By Dr. Nicholas Correa ELT Resource person, Ratnasagar Publication
  • The ability to write well is vitally important to do well in school and in a career, as many jobs require writing, even if only to communicate via email. Traditionally, little teaching of creative writing has been done until the upper elementary grades, and even then, it often takes a back seat to other subjects. It is possible, though, to improve your child's creative writing skills through encouragement, supporting the teacher's efforts at home, and teaching some writing skills yourself. The following steps provide you with ideas and methods to help make your child a better writer.
  • 1.Read to and with your child. Reading and writing go hand-in-hand; good writers are well read, not just in grammar and usage, but in various subjects also, and well versed in various writing styles. Your child's teacher and local librarian can help you select books that are appropriate to your child's age and interests.. View slide
  • •In addition to reading to your child, have your child read to you, and, if you have more than 1 child, have the older children read to the younger ones. View slide
  • 2.Play games with words. Word games include not just commercially available board or card games, but brainstorming games as well. Following are examples of both commercial and brainstorming games you can play with your child, some of which you can follow with actual writing projects:
  • •Word games such as Scrabble, Unspeakable Words, Bananagrams, or Boggle are great vocabulary building games. With Unspeakable Words, which requires players to keep a list of already used words, you can use that word list as a list of story prompts. •Games such as You've Been Sentenced provide opportunities for sentence building. In addition to playing the regular game, you can have your child take a group of game tiles and try to come up with the most ridiculous sentence he or she can think of.
  • •Games such as Scattergories, Mad-Libs, and Magnetic Poetry provide excellent opportunities for brainstorming, helping your child get into the habit of thinking of story ideas or words to use. (The makers of Magnetic Poetry provide an online area for kids to play with digital versions of their word tiles athttp://magneticpoetry.com/kids-area/.) •For young children, you can bake biscuits or cookies in the shape of letters or words and then have them "eat their words" when they recognize them.
  • •Write instructions on slips of paper, then attach one to a ball or Frisbee (or stuff it in an old sock to play indoors). One player throws the ball to another, who then has to perform the action on the paper before attaching a slip of his or her own and throwing it to the next player. •Inspired by Remy Charlip's book "Fortunately," in which "fortunately" good things happened to a young boy followed by "unfortunately" bad things, you can make a list of "fortunatelies" about something your child has always wanted to it. • For each "fortunately," have the child write down the corresponding "unfortunately": "Fortunately, I came into a large inheritance when my rich uncle died."/"Unfortunately, I had to spend most of it fixing up the large house he also left me." (Comedian Archie Campbell did a similar routine of "Hey, that's good"/"No, that's bad.")
  • 3.Provide your children with a place and materials for creative writing. Just as children should have a quiet place to study and do their other homework, the same is true for their writing assignments. Ideally, this would be a desk in the child's room, away from the television. A child's writing area should include the following materials:
  • •Pens, pencils, and erasers. •A notebook or journal. •Stationery (writing paper and envelopes). As the child gets older and gets access to the family computer, he or she will want to write on the computer. Encourage this but also encourage the use of the stationery to provide a personal touch to thank you notes and other such correspondence.
  • •An age-appropriate dictionary. Special purpose dictionaries such as a rhyming dictionary aren't warranted unless and until the child shows a definite interest in rhyming poetry or whatever form of writing can be assisted with a special purpose dictionary. •Consider a thesaurus. A thesaurus isn't necessary until your child starts working with synonyms to add colour to his or her writing, at which point it can be a big help. • Thesauruses are organized either by categories (Roget's Thesaurus) or in dictionary fashion, which some users find more convenient. Use whichever style is used in the child's classroom.
  • 4.Encourage daily writing. The best way to improve writing skills, no matter the writer's age, is through regular practice. If you're homeschooling your child, you'll want to include regular formal writing lessons, but you can also suggest your child write about his or her day at school or about a trip to the store after coming home. You can also provide writing prompts in the form of pictures clipped from various sources or picture books without words.
  • 5.Get your child to think about a writing project before doing any actual writing. Most writing begins by planning the story, article, or poem before actual putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. You can use any of the following approaches to encourage your child to think about the structure and content of a writing project:
  • •Ask your child questions about the project. For story writing, questions can revolve around the story's setting (e.g., "When does the story take place?"), main conflict ("What is the most important event?"), and action/resolution ("How does Johnny get Green Lantern's power ring back to him?") For a report, appropriate questions can revolve around the journalist's "who, what, where, when, why, and how." If your child expresses difficulty in deciding what to write about, ask questions about things he or she has done in the past and particularly enjoyed, someone he or she particularly admires, or something else centered on the child. •Play stenographer. Write down your child's thoughts and read them back. You can do this with very young children to help them learn to connect spoken and written words or with older children to help them focus on their assignment.
  • 6.Write along with them. While it's okay to help with the actual writing if asked, "write along with them" actually means doing the writing assignment yourself alongside your child. Doing the assignment yourself and showing the results to your child shows him or her that you value creative writing skills.
  • 7.Review your child's work. With the child's teacher's approval, look over your child's writing and gently suggest places where he or she can make the work better (e.g., "You might want to check the spelling of these 3 words.") Overall, though, you should be looking for writing skills your child has displayed proficiently and point them out; "Your description of 'Post 11 stood in the distance beckoning us to go on' told me how much you would have enjoyed going further on the nature hike."