It is true that students are not always very comfortable in the field of writing, whether it is the production of a text or the act of writing itself, pen in hand. Alas!
In a file published in 2018 by the National Council for the Evaluation of the School System (CNESCO), it appears that New students write little and with difficulty. The rendered texts are often too short, or even incoherent.
The problem is that these difficulties in New are found in other subjects in which it is necessary to write: science, history, geography, etc.
Young people write
Young people ultimately write a lot, but in a non-academic context. It is rather reassuring! Because they know that they will not be judged. This writing, very often, remains secret. These young people write fictions, their diaries, etc.
It is a writing often crammed with spelling mistakes, but which constitutes a kind of exhaustion, which is not intended to be read. How to create a biography page on Wikipedia. They write for them, because it does those good to express their emotions, their excess of stress towards their schooling or to others.
Young people also communicate with each other a lot in writing, on their smartphones, most of the time: on social networks, blogs, via their messaging services, etc. They write in their own language and using their own expressions, often in phonetics or using neologisms, abbreviations or emoji’s (emoticons). In short, a writing that many adults would consider unconventional!
A playful approach to writing
Above all, to make children want to start writing, it is necessary to adopt a playful and non-judgmental approach to writing. Writing in order to write is boring in their eyes. Everything should be done with joy, with a positive attitude. Writing should above all be fun and fun. Otherwise, what is the point of the practice?
Children love to play. So let’s make a writing game. They will never be able to discover the joys of Wikipedia writing service if they are constantly judged as soon as they write and they make spelling mistakes.
For this activity to become fun, children must find meaning in it. We must ensure that writing is not perceived as a formal exercise.
Make the children think about the question of writing:
- Why do we write?
- Why do parents or the teacher or the teacher write?
- When do we write?
- What are we writing?
- How do you invent a story?
- How do you write a story?
To keep the act of writing fun, you have to think about giving children freedom on the subject or type of writing. Limit the constraints as much as possible; they must, in any case, remain simple, affordable and adapted to the age of the children.
The themes addressed can be diverse and varied. Children, when they are confident, are inexhaustible and develop treasures of the imagination. They can thus express their creativity!
Freedom of creativity
Children love to invent and imagine! To get your children to write, use their galloping imaginations! Let the children choose their writing media. For some, it will be on newspaper, for others, conventional sheets. Still others will have a preference for digital media.
Although handwriting is fundamental for the development of the brain capacities of the youngest, the computer should not be dismissed out of hand, especially when children are growing up. It is also part of their world! The diversity of media creates attraction and the desire to write!
Don’t force them to write with a pen either. Some children will prefer to write with markers or colored pencils. They can thus, if they feel like it, draw at the same time as they write. They will be able to paint their stories, or vice versa.
Let the children also choose their posture: they don’t have to sit on a chair to write. The sitting position is sometimes restrictive. Feeling free to move around helps writing. They can write standing up, on the walls (when possible!), or even lying on the floor on rugs or cushions.
Make writing a ritual
The interest of ritualizing activities is no longer to be proven. The establishment of rituals has many benefits for learning, including the development of autonomy.
So choose a time to have your children write, always at the same time. The goal is to create a healthy habit, which we might call “the writing jog”.
When the children have created their texts, be proud and display them in a place dedicated to it. Write, too, and display your writings. The whole family will benefit and each will read each other’s productions, adding kind comments. Show them that it is possible to have fun writing!
Ideas for getting children to write
There are many possibilities for getting children to write:
- play with their first name
- Write poems
- write with a particular constraint
- keep a journal or notebook
- write to a friend or grandparents
- imagine the continuation of a story
- write to a correspondent
- write about a movie the child has seen
- write about an activity the child has done
- write a photo book about a vacation
- write about certain parts of the body, the seasons, or animals
- make images or a work speak
- write on a monster that the child will have imagined by making a collage for example
- Write lists (of groceries, ingredients, activities, places to visit, etc.)
- write invitation cards, for Christmas, for birthdays
- Write a book (for the more adventurous) and why not sell it!
- caption photos, for example creating a family outing notebook for each year
- Leave notes (post-it) at home everywhere: it is a safe bet that your children will take the same path!
- write postcards
- put yourself in the skin of an animal
- write a song
- to write on the sand with a stick
- write with markers on a small whiteboard that you put in your house
- Call on “Reve aux letters”, a new start-up that allows children to become co-writer and hero of a story. The child is involved in the writing of his story, his tastes are taken into account, and his imagination is revived by an exchange of letters which are used to construct the rest of the story.
Above all, it is important to show your children that we write every day and that this is very important. Give your children a notebook, which will be their secret notebook. Give meaning to writing and take every opportunity to have your children write. Writing is the natural extension of reading: the latter can be a gateway to writing.
No path to writing should be rejected out of hand! Writing is above all a cerebral gymnastics. You have to write a lot to loosen up and enjoy it.
As a conclusion
A study carried out by Marie-Claude Pen Loup in 2003 revealed that correspondence dominates among young people as a means of written expression at 88%. Invention (songs, poems, novels) peaks at 48%. 22% of 11-12 year olds keep a diary.