Being Your Child’s Writing Cheerleader

Notice any special publications on the bookshelf above? I’m reposting (with some edits) a post that I did more than ago, in the spring of 2019. But, I believe this information is even more important for you now, as parents are trying to navigate helping their children learn at home. Last week, I had the privilege of “attending” a virtual workshop for parents on how to help our children through writing workshop at home, put on by the lovely ladies from Inspire Literacy.

My two biggest takeaways from these lovely ladies on supporting writing at home? First, remember that as parents right now, we are NOT our children’s teachers (remember, I told you all this back in March when schools first closed?)! Rather, we should be their cheerleaders, supporting their writing enthusiastically and contagiously. And second, we should work as hard as we can to make our children’s writing authentic and for an actual audience.

Another example of our daughter’s writing featured on our front-facing bookshelf.

So how does this relate to my post from more than a year ago? Read on to see what I wrote then:

“Now, for those of you who know me personally, you know I don’t save much of the girls’ artwork for sentimental purposes. But, if you’ve been following me for a while, you know I believe 100% in the power of displaying— and therefore honoring— children’s work.

So, lately, I’ve been taking those books that our oldest is writing and displaying them right along with the “real” published books we’ve been reading. She loves it! And even better, our preschooler is starting to write books and proudly walk them to the shelf for others to read, too! In fact, we’ve got so many of these little books that we’ve started to overflow into a basket that lives on our counter, easily accessible to anyone who visits our house and might want to read them.

Real power comes when we honor our children as the readers and writers that they are. This can start with finding a way to display children’s early artwork and however they “make their mark.” (We LOVE Articulate Gallery frames for this.) When young children are reading, you can give them a great sense of efficacy by calling them readers and praising the reading work they’re doing, even if it’s flipping through a board book or reciting what they’ve memorized. And once they start to write stories, find a way to authenticate their stories (a good front-facing shelf will make this really easy to do!).” From my Instagram post on April 24, 2019.

One last quick tip: remember to make writing just as accessible for your children as reading! Below, you can see two different ways we’ve set up writing center materials in our house over the years. We have always had writing materials available on the top of our front-facing bookshelf, but I recently set up a more proper “writing center” at our house for this distance learning time (and yes, it just lives on the end of our kitchen table… Such is life without a playroom!).

So, what do you think? How is writing going for your child at home? How do you motivate them to keep writing and cheer them on in their efforts? How do you help them believe their stories are worth recording on paper?

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