• Courtney Weaver

June Extracurricular and Enrichment Series: Reading and Writing

Reading and writing are two very important subjects children learn throughout school and can learn and work on at home. While some children love reading and writing, there are children who do not enjoy them. Though not all children love them, it is helpful to make both fun and encourage them to keep going. Thankfully, there are ways to make them fun for your children that will help them learn and stay engaged.



Reading has many benefits for everyone at every age. Reading to your children when they are younger can help them learn language and the pronunciation of words. It is also a good night time routine you can create with your children to bond and spend more time with them. You can continue reading to them until they learn how to read and then you can read with your children as a family and help make it a positive experience for them. Reading can help them learn new words and learn about the world around them. Reading can also help children to have more empathy and emotional awareness.

One thing I love about reading is that it can be a great escape when life gets stressful. It is also great for imagination because you have to picture everything yourself from the words on the page used to describe what is going on. Another benefit of reading is that it helps with writing. Through reading, children can learn how to use grammar correctly and write better, while also finding new inspiration for writing ideas. Reading can also help with concentration because they have to focus on a book for a period of time in order to read it.



Ways to encourage reading:


· Make reading space – Have a quiet reading space for your children in a quiet area with a comfy place to sit to read.

· Read with them – When they are younger, you can read to them and as they get older you can read together.

· Let them pick their books – Try not force them to read books they are not interested in, unless they have to for school. In middle and high school, many books are assigned for reading and they will not all be books they will enjoy. Encourage them to keep reading the books they do enjoy so that they do not stop reading for fun.

· Go to the bookstore or library – Take family trips to bookstores or the library so they have many options to choose from. Libraries are a great source because they are usually free and have many different books. Some libraries have an online app so you can check out books to read on your phone or tablet.

· Help them connect with real life – If your child is going through a hard time or is nervous about something, like high school, recommend books where the character is going through a similar situation.

· Keep books around the house – Keep books in places where your child can easily get to them and read them.

· Encourage them to take books with them – If you are going on a long car ride or if they ride the bus, encourage them to take their book with them. The good thing about books is that they are usually fairly small and easy to transport.

· Ask them about what they are reading – Talk to them about the books they are reading. See what excites and interests them. You can even read the same book at the same time, so you can connect and talk about the book together.

· Watch movies inspired by books – Something that you can do for fun is watch a movie based off of a book. You can either watch the movie or read the book first and then discuss the differences.

· Help them pick books for their age group – Books are divided into various age groups for readers. They do not have to stay reading in that age group but it is helpful for them to be able to connect with the characters and to ensure the book is not too easy or difficult for them to read.




Writing is also an important skill for children to have. Writing is one of the main forms of communication and will always be needed. It is important to have great writing skills when applying for colleges and for jobs.

It is important that when you are helping your child with your writing that you do not focus too much on the spelling or grammar and more on helping them get their ideas out and on the paper. You do not want to make writing and activity that they no longer enjoy because they are only hearing the negatives about what they did incorrectly. They will learn spelling and grammar as they go and in school or subconsciously when they read.

Also, helping your child talk through their ideas and creating an outline or story map before they start writing can be helpful and can help them with speaking as well. Writing can help your child with organizing their thoughts before they speak.

Another benefit of writing is that writers tend to listen more or focus more in their surroundings looking for inspiration for their writing and may pick up on things that others do not. Writing can also promote additional learning and research because they may need to do more research on various subjects in order to include them in their writings.



Ways to encourage writing:


· Make it into a game – Look online to see if you can find different writing games you can try at home. Keeping it fun will encourage them to write more.

· Try different materials – With younger children, you can try using different materials to write with such as chalk, dry erase, colorful pens, paint, etc.

· Find writing prompts – Instagram, Reddit, various apps, as well as many books have different writing prompts that you can find. Have your child look through them and pick one that inspires them and write a short story. Often, once they start writing they will likely want to keep going and write more than just a short story.

· Have them learn and write about subjects they love – Find what inspires them and encourage them to use their creativity to research and write about it.

· Have a word of the day – You can sign up to receive a word of the day or you can pick one yourself and have your children learn the word and try to use it throughout the day or try to write a story or sentence with that word.

· Encourage them to keep a journal – Journaling is great for mental health and can help them get their thoughts down on paper and possibly help them work through problems. You can also encourage them to keep a gratitude journal and write about things that have made them happy or that they are thankful for.

· Find pen pals or write letters to family members – One fun way to encourage your children to write is to find them a pen pal or a family member they can write letters too.

· Create a writing space – Just like having a reading space, you can also create a space for them to write as well.

· Write together – Spend time writing together. You are their role model and if they see you care about writing, it can encourage them to want to write too.

· Praise – Praise them often on their work. Knowing that you are doing a good job and that people enjoy your work encourages you so much to keep going.


Reading and writing can be fun activities that are also helpful to exercise their brain and help them use their creativity and learn more about their world. If you notice they love reading or writing be sure to encourage them to keep going. If they do not seem to like either, try to figure out why, and then see if you can make it fun for them to encourage them to read or write. Reading and writing can be fun for all age groups.


Do you enjoy reading and writing or do your children? If so, let us know in the comments what you do to keep it fun!


Sources:

“How to Encourage Good Reading Habits in Kids.” Oxford Learning. 22 November 2017 https://www.oxfordlearning.com/encourage-good-reading-habits/

Brooks, Ashley. “The Benefits of Reading to Children: From Prenatal to Adolescence.” Rasmussen College. 4 January 2018 https://www.rasmussen.edu/degrees/education/blog/benefits-of-reading-to-children/

“16 Benefits of Reading to Your Child.” Raise Smart Kid. https://www.raisesmartkid.com/all-ages/1-articles/14-the-benefits-of-reading-to-your-child

“10 Benefits of Reading.” Cam Everlands Primary School. https://www.cameverlands.org.uk/10-benefits-of-reading/

“How to Improve Writing Skills for Kids: 14 Easy Steps.” Oxford Learning. 30 November 2016. https://www.oxfordlearning.com/improve-kids-writing-skills/

“7 Great Ways to Encourage Kids’ Writing.” GreatSchools. 17 July 2014. https://www.greatschools.org/gk/articles/seven-ways-to-encourage-kids-writing/

“The Psychological Benefits of Writing.” https://www.sparringmind.com/benefits-of-writing/

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