Supporting writing skills in the elementary years

You know that writing and the ability to communicate effectively and clearly are important skills, and so does your child’s school. That’s why writing is a part of the curriculum. But it can be hard to know how to support your child as she develops writing skills at home. Do you just leave it up to the schools and stay out of it? Or is there more you can do to help your child become a good writer?

boy writing in class

Absolutely there is more you can do at home – and it doesn’t have to be onerous. Supporting writing as a part of everyday activity is totally doable, and you’ll likely both become better writers for it! No matter what age or grade or developmental phase, supporting your child’s ability to communicate effectively through the written word will have a direct impact on his or her future.

Lead by example

Let your child see you write, in whatever way you do. Whether it’s blogging, journaling, or some other form of writing, let them see you at it. Talk about the ways you structure your writing, how it can help you sort through emotions or just record fun family memories. Let your child know that you work at writing clearly, and that it’s not always easy or quick, but always worth it. If writing is important to you and a part of your day, communicate this to your child.

Support reading

Writing, and the ability to write well, is linked to reading. When a child reads, they learn new words, absorb information about sentence structure and grammar and see how ideas are organized – not to mention it sparks imagination.

Support reading time in your home long after the early elementary years. Make it a family goal to read books daily, and make going to the library to find new books together a ritual. Give books as gifts and talk about your favorite books.

Journal together

No matter what kind of writing effort is made at school, encourage writing at home, too, by encouraging your child to keep a journal on a daily basis. If you keep a journal, you can spend five or 10 minutes a day, each writing in your journals.

What should your child write about? Anything! You know the story she told you when she hopped off the bus so excitedly? She could journal that! Or about the funny thing the cat did, or that she’s angry at her little brother for using her toothpaste. Journals don’t have to have a specific point – they are for writing out whatever comes to mind. If you demonstrate and encourage this practice, your child will be well on his or her way to being a writer, whether he or she ever does it for a living or not.


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