From Adults to Teens and Everything In Between

From Adults to Teens and Everything In Between

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Encouraging Your Kids to Write

I suspect that I've always been a proficient writer, but I waited until my late 30's to practice at writing.  Heck, I was an English major in college but never wrote a single piece for the pure enjoyment of it.  My mother, an English professor, always gave me high praise for the papers I would write for school, but I don't remember ever expressing an interest in writing just for myself.  If I had, I'm sure my parents would have offered encouragement, pushing me to pursue something I enjoy.  In writing, I got a late start.

I have an 11 year old daughter who showed an interest in what I was writing, so I challenged her to write something that she would like.  It turns out that she is a wonderful poet.  She's now branching out to short stories and even began a NaNo novel.  My hope for her is that with an early start, she'll be published (if she wants to be) by the time she's in her 20's rather than her 40's like her dear old mom.  Even if publication is not her goal, she's working on treasures that her children might enjoy someday.

If you have a kid who consistently gets good grades in language classes, why not challenge him or her to write a story or poem just for fun?  Here are some resources that might help you help your child:
  • Check with your library, which might have workshops for young writers.
  • Your child's school might have an extra curricular activity for writers such as Power of the Pen or a school newspaper.
  • Plenty of magazines for kids, both online and hard copy, have writing contests or accept submissions from kids.
  • There are a lot of great instructional books for your young scribe. Here are my daughter's favorites:
Juicy Writing: Inspiration and Techniques for Young WritersSeize the Story

My only other piece of advice would be not to ask to read what your kid has written.  If he or she wants to share, then praise the effort and creativity.  Good Luck!


  1. I love it when kids write! May I recommend "Writing Magic: Creating Stories That Fly" for your daughter to read? It's written by Gail Carson Levine (author of Ella Enchanted). :)

  2. Thanks for the recommendation. Her birthday is coming up...that will be perfect!

  3. No problem. Hope she likes it! :)

  4. I intern with a literary organization called Writers in the Schools which brings in writers to public schools and works with kids for 10 weeks. Then at the end of the school year they publish an anthology of the student's work. I think it's pretty awesome and I wish I had something like this when I was in school.

    Their web site is at if you wanted to check it out.

  5. Thanks for the info, Colin. I will check it out. Sounds like a great idea!


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