Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Advice for Teaching Children [and Adults] Writing

There are things that helped prepare me for becoming a better writer. I followed the advice of my professor: keep a journal and carry a thesaurus. This was the BEST advice. If I may recommend, don't worry about "teaching" writing. Have your children simply write. Have them read, but the things they are interested in. Comic books were the best thing for me! Yes, I had to look up words, but with comic books there is a pacing, a way of understanding how language works without the overwhelming page. There are kid-appropriate comic books, too. Also, I read Lord of the Rings and Narnia. I didn't understand it, but I read it. :) For reading comprehension, and I STILL recommend this to college students, I summarize eahc paragraph I read. No highlighting--it's not as effective. Working within each paragraph, writing a very brief three or four word description, allows the mind to comprehend and remember. Research also shows that taking notes longhand is more effective than typing notes, as the mind analyzes and summarizes information when handwriting--versus only taking details without remembering when typing. I'll think of other things to send soon, but my teaching phiosophy is to minimize the pressure of "getting things right" and incorporating more content, exploration, and questioning. In fact, I love essays that end with further questioning.

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