Writing makes so much more sense to kids if they are writing with purpose.

by Cathy

Especially if you happen to have a child who is a rather reluctant writer, incorporating writing into your every day life and play can motivate them to pick up a pencil and make their mark. Giving writing a practical purpose lets children see the importance of developing literacy skills and leads to all sorts of other fun along the way.

Here are ten practical ideas to get kids enjoying writing with purpose.

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  • Have your kids write your shopping list when you head out to do some errands and then be in charge of reading out the list and ticking off the items as you shop.
  • When you’re planning your child’s birthday party, put them in charge. Let them write the guest list and send out the invitations.
  • Make a holiday planner. Whatever the season, take a big piece of paper and create your own calendar of events. Put the kids in charge of the drawing and writing and let them suggest some fun ideas to include on the schedule.
  • Getting a real-life handwritten letter through the post is exciting at any age, so find your child a pen-pal and encourage some letter writing. You could pair up with a friend or send a note to a grandparent.
  • If your child loves to imagine and create you could give this a twist and set up a fairy post box to write magical letters – and drop them a reply after they’ve gone to bed, ready to discover in the morning.
  • When you go on holiday take some time to send a postcard – either to a friend or even back to your own address, to see if the card makes it home before you do.
  • Make a scrap book with your child, full of photos, drawings and diary entries – perhaps a diary of your vacation or a garden journal. Mixing up how you record things can be great for reluctant writers. One of my daughters loves to draw, but not to write so much. I find though that if we decide to do both, it turns out that she does a lot more writing than she would do otherwise.
  • Make your own comic – to share or even to sell to friends. As with the scrap book, using lots of pictures can be a great way to sneak in some writing too.
  • Make your own birthday cards and have your child write the note inside and the address on the envelope. Then buy the stamp and post the letter together.
  • With action kids, use a pencil and paper or a chalk on the wall outside, any time you’re playing a game together, so your child can write down the scores. This is a great way for competitive kids to get writing!

How do you encourage your kids to write with a purpose? Have you found any great practical ways to encourage them to pick up a pencil? Share a tip with us.