Listen to “CHM048:Helping Your Reluctant Writers” on Spreaker.

This homeschool podcast episode is all about the writing process and helping reluctant writers. I go over a lot of content – about the process of writing, what it’s all about, and ideas to get kids to enjoy the writing process. I’ll be sharing a general outline from the podcast about reluctant writers and how to help them, and hopefully, you can draw from this to help you with a reluctant writer.

First, before you begin, it’s important to set some learning goals concerning what you want your kids to be able to accomplish in writing. Maybe they’re not going to be the next famous fiction writer, but perhaps your main goal is for them to be able to write a decent 5 paragraph paper about an interesting topic, or maybe they are working on writing letters to grandma who lives far away. As they get older, children will need to be able to develop their thoughts in a cohesive manner and will need to learn writing skills as a form of expressing themselves in order to be understood.

Some helpful advice about teaching reluctant writers

  • Writing doesn’t have to be a pain, so make it as fun as possible for kids
  • Don’t require too much all at once.  Take your time and get through the process of writing a little at a time.
  • Don’t be a literary critic, but instead, help kids to discover what they want to say. Don’t nitpick them to death with every little mistake.  Give them room to explore their thoughts.
  • Teach writing in a variety of ways and for a variety of audiences.
  • Use a curriculum if you need to or just expose your children to regular writing routines (like writing intensives/clinics/workshops).

What is the process of writing?

  • Prewriting-brainstorming, collecting ideas, planning for topics.  Create an outline (if needed).
  • Rough draft-getting the words down (without editing). You want a logical progression of words and ideas to flow.  Editing comes later.
  • Revision– time to edit, refine, expand. This is the challenging part of writing.
  • Editing– check for correct forms of grammar usage, spelling, punctuation.
  • Presentation– find a special place for presenting the writing (for relatives, friends, or dad when he’s home from work.  You could also use an online platform like YouTube).

The 6 traits of writing

  • ideas- gathering ideas, brainstorming
  • organization– Does the lead sentence hook the reader? Do the sentences transition easily? Is the writing easy to follow?
  • voice- Help your child to visualize the audience and write for them. Find their individuality and perspective. Make sure the voice is appropriate to the audience. Show you care. Speak with passion and credibility. Be enthusiastic and expressive.
  • word choice-Find the most expressive, high energy words.  Eliminate trite, emotionless words.  Use the thesaurus.
  • sentence fluencySentences should have a variety of length and structure, sound soothing, have proper punctuation.
  • conventions- include proper sentence structure, punctuation, and proper spelling. It’s a set of rules that we generally accept for proper writing standards in the English language.  Different types of writing have different conventions.

About writing conventions

  • Narrative writing must have characters, setting, and plot.
  • Descriptive writing must appeal to the senses through use of vivid, colorful, precise vocabulary.
  • Expository writing must inform, clarify, explain, define, or instruct.
  • Persuasive writing must present an argument based on facts and logic, and attempt to sway the reader’s opinion.

Types of writing

  • expository (essays)
  • persuasive (essays)
  • descriptive
  • narrative
  • technical
  • short stories
  • poetry
  • book reports
  • letter-writing

Elements of writing

  • comparing and contrasting
  • note taking
  • research skills
  • fact/opinion
  • cause/effect
  • style guides and plagiarism
Helping reluctant writers

Strategies for writing

  • word banks (fill in the blank)
  • copywork
  • grammar activities
  • journaling
  • story starters
  • editing
  • interviews
  • narrations- Reading good literature out loud and hearing what is being read gives a better foundation for emulating correct writing strategies.  Narrate aloud or on paper so that it also becomes visible.  IEW (Institute for Excellence in Writing) and Writing Rhetoric program uses forms of narration process to teach and improve kids’ writing.

Writing Apps & Resources for Helping Reluctant Writers

  • Popplet
  • Flowboard
  • Sentence Builder
  • gives excellent resource materials for writing- writing prompts, writing handbook, teaching ideas, organization, finding your voice, sentence fluency- it’s all there.  Also contains rubrics. *Note- some links may be outdated, but overall information presented here is very useful.
  • has free powerpoint presentations to help teach writing and includes links to writing games and clip art.

Thanks to Poema Rosa for your review of Christian Homeschool Moms Podcast on Itunes!

Today’s sponsor: Great Homeschool ConventionsI hope you enjoy this podcast about reluctant writers and how to help them! Please leave a review in Itunes if this has helped you.