Instilling a Love of Writing

by Dr. Mary Kay Clark

The only way to learn to ride a bike is to ride, the only way to learn to read is to read, and the only way to learn to write is to write. Just like riding a bike or reading, writing is a skill that needs to be practiced. The more it is practiced, the easier it becomes.

To practice writing, an English professor at Christendom College suggests that students keep a journal. She points out that “ironically, the only way to lessen the painful nature of writing is by writing everyday. Perhaps the easiest way to facilitate this practice is by encouraging your child to keep a journal.

A journal is a notebook in which the child writes about specific events or ideas; or it may be a place where he fights out personal battles, or reflects on people or events.

“The journal is a place for practice writing…Writing in the journal gives the children practice in putting on paper the ideas which are floating in their brains.… Just let them practice. Let them become accustomed to the written word, its powers and its deficiencies.

Have your children carry a journal in their pocket on daily excursions to the store or to the park or wherever. Encourage them to write about what they see or think. The next time the dinner table becomes the scene for a discussion, ask them to present their perspective on the issue.”

Besides a paper journal, there is also the possibility of keeping a journal on the computer, or even posting in a blog.

The goal is to have your child become accustomed to writing everyday and not be afraid of writing. Ask your children to say a prayer to their guardian angel as they begin to write.

You don’t need to look at the spelling or punctuation. Just have them write their own thoughts and ideas, using their own words. The hardest part about this assignment is that you need to be patient. The first hurdle is simply to have your children get used to writing and not be afraid of writing.

Believe it or not, your children’s writing will improve, but for now, just be happy they are actually writing and are not fearful of writing or expressing themselves in words, whether on paper or on the computer.