From Our House to Yours
Encouraging a Young Reluctant Writer
Do you have a young reluctant writer? Well, take heart! Time, consistency, and gradual changes can help. I know it can seem frustrating, and it is awfully tempting just to turn written assignments into oral assignments. However, that will not solve the problem. Unless children have special needs preventing them to do so, children need to learn to write. They need to be able to share their knowledge, opinions, and passions in the written form. Even in this world of typing or tapping on phones or keyboards, writing using good old fashioned pencil and paper is still a necessary skill to have. So, how can you encourage your young reluctant writer?
Young reluctant writers need time!
First, young reluctant writers simply need time. Fine motor skills take time to develop. Just as professional weight-lifters need time to develop muscles to lift larger weights, so do young writers need to time develop dexterity and strength to write more. Heart of Dakota’s younger guides begin with copywork, so children write looking at a model with proper spelling and punctuation. This way, they can focus on writing letters, words, and sentences properly without the added pressure of figuring out spelling and punctuation too. So, be sure to encourage reluctant writers that with time, their strength and dexterity to write will improve!
Young reluctant writers need consistency!
Second, reluctant writers need consistency. Heart of Dakota’s plans take into account the amount of writing across all subject areas. This is one of the many reasons using Heart of Dakota for all subject areas makes sense! One author, Carrie Austin, wrote each Heart of Dakota guide. As she wrote, she paid attention to keeping a balance of skills each day. So, for example, if history required writing, science probably did not require writing. Reluctant writers need consistency, and by following Heart of Dakota’s plans, that writing consistency is inherent. Simply by expecting and encouraging children to consistently write what is planned each day in each subject, reluctant writers begin to grow into stronger writers.
Gradual changes help young reluctant writers improve!
Third, gradual changes help young reluctant writers improve. In Beyond Little Hearts for His Glory, children use classical poetry for copywork. Starting with copywork is so important! Children can then focus on following a proper model as they write. At the start, children might copy one line of poetry. Then, a gradual change can be made in a month or two, and children can begin to copy two lines of poetry. In another month or two, children can begin to copy three lines of poetry. The next month or so, children can begin to copy four lines of poetry. In the same way, reluctant writers can make gradual changes in the size of their writing. Over time, they can be encouraged to slowly shrink their writing. They can gradually write on smaller lines, until finally, they are writing on wide-lined notebook paper. Little by little, with gradual changes, reluctant writers will improve!
I want to encourage you that with time, consistency, and gradual changes your reluctant writer will improve! If your children are placed in a Heart of Dakota guide that assigns writing, the first simple step is to be sure to encourage and expect your children to do it. If you need to start smaller, do. But, try to make gradual progress so that by the end of the guide, children are able to do the amount writing they are assigned to do. Being a good writer is rare enough these days to be an asset inside and outside of the home. Keep encouraging reluctant kiddos to write, and you will see progress!