I follow two methods for teaching my children to write
- Charlotte Mason methods of oral narration and copywork, then they move into written narrations.
- Institute of Excellence in Writing
The thing I like best about both these methods is that I use the writing methods on any subject we are studying I dont have to have writing as a separate subject writing just happens as a part of our learning.
- After reading a story I will get my children, especially developing writers, to give me an oral narration telling me what they have heard and understood. Sometimes I will write out one sentence they say, and get them to copy write it. Often this would be under a drawing of the same incidence they are retelling.
- After reading something (a story or even a piece of information) I may get a child to give me an oral narration and then he will go and write it down. Talking before writing helps get the words flowing and they see the connection between talking and writing (talking on paper).
- After reading something for themselves I would have the student summarise it using IEW methods of finding key words and then writing their summary.
- After learning something I would have them research further and once again using the IEW methods write a report (between 1-5 paragraphs).
The common key in all this is that they are writing from what they are already learning.
Every so often, we will have a writing workshop. This is where we cancel our regular lessons and have a writing lesson. This workshop will introduce a new skill that I want them to start incorporating into their writing. We work on the skill together for a week or so and then I start to expect that skill in their everyday writing (when appropriate).
So what are the writing opportunities my children face?
- Read alouds books I read to them for either pleasure or education
- Their reading books they read to themselves for either pleasure or education
- Visual media the news, documentaries or movies we watch as a family
- Lessons they have such as science, history, literature, geography etc
Writing is actually a part of our learning process we take in information, we think about it, and we write about it. We dont need to go and look for things for the kids to write about it is all around us.
Note: This process isnt so much for the creative writing genre though often their reading inspires the setting for a story.
You can read one of Jessica’s short pieces which was written after we watched a DVD on William Tyndale.
As a teacher and home school grandparent, I have found that teaching the skills in a “writing workshop,” away from their ongoing writing assignments, as you do, is very effective. It gives students time to learn the skill by working with it for a time, then expecting them to gradually incorporate it into their writing. chances of success are far greater with this method.
Thanks Judith – it is nice to get this type of feedback/confirmation. Thanks for taking the time to comment.
You’re so welcome. I wanted to add that it is more important to get the child to write, than it is to make sure everything is correct. The more writing the student does, the more conventions will be applied. Good luck!