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In my blog post from yesterday, one of my readers and a fellow blogger mentioned that she had a son who enjoyed reading, but she had yet to figure out how to get him interested in making the leap to writing. As my post was about my son and I relating as writers and he's close to the age of her son, she asked me to talk to Hunter for advice. I did.

First off, just let me say that I am not only not above asking my son for advice, but when it comes to giving advice in situations like this, I look forward to it. After all, it's easy for Hunter to think of what worked him because it's fresh in his mind and he probably has more in common with other kids than I do. That makes it easy for him to relate. As for me, I enjoy learning about his perspective because it's so often different from mine and brings me a fresh view.

Hunter was kind of in a hurry to answer me because it's Friday and he had a friend coming over, but he had some very simple advice to give about encouraging kids to write. I can tell you this though: when I asked Hunter, he thought it was cool that another adult wanted his opinion, but he had this look that told me he thought of his writing much the way he thinks of his video games which is kind of "What do you mean not everyone games?" look.

Hunter's first piece of advice was to ask your child if he wants to write. After a brief conversation with Hunter, I understood that he really meant to ask your child if he or she likes to make up stories. To him, the writing is just the tool he uses along with his drawings. His next piece of advice was a follow up to the first one.

"Get ideas from games and books, then make write a story about them. That's how I came up with mine. Then, you just write."

Hunter's comic strip that he's been working on is based on the features he sees in a mixture of characters from his games and books that he reads. As a parent, I would take this to mean that you might ask your child about characters in games and stories and encourage him or her to make up a story about them. Or, mix things up a bit and ask your child to put a character in a foreign surrounding. For instance, put Johnny Test in Bikini Bottom or something like that.

You're not asking your child to plagiarize. A simple fact of learning and being imaginative is that we base our ideas off of our existing knowledge. If your child can be imaginative with existing characters, he or she will eventually go on to the next step of creating their own characters.

Now, you might be thinking that the hard part is actually getting them to write down their stories or ideas. From what I have seen with Hunter, his level of motivation in this area is based in large part on the format he's presented with to write on.

Hunter was homeschooled for a couple of years. As part of his homeschooling, I had him create a blog of his own. He hated it. Let me clarify. He hated the fact that he had to write a blog post, but he enjoyed being a blogger. However, to him it wasn't as pleasurable as writing something with one of his pens.

Writing tools are a big deal. I prefer round pencils with cap erasers over anything else. Hunter has a box full of different types of pens. In fact. I don't even like to write with his pens because he likes ones that I don't, like the fine point pens. My advice to encourage kids to write is to let them try out some different writing tools. See what he or she likes an go with it. If the act of writing itself becomes pleasurable enough, it will naturally become something that's done frequently. If you're really interested in encouraging your child to write, then you already know that you need to appreciate every piece of work they do. I wouldn't worry right away about things like grammar and punctuation either. These are things that can be developed over time. As long as the act of writing is pleasurable, they'll eventually take more interest in the details of it.

2 comments:

  1. This is awesome!! Thank you so much to you and Hunter for some great advice. My son is with his dad this weekend, but you've given me some good ideas to mull over. I actually have a bin of office supplies because I stock up during back to school season. I think I might let him ransack it and see what we come up with. Hunter asking about my son liking to write, and you talking about his comic strips, remind me that I've seen my son make large drawings with word bubbles that do, in fact, tell a story so maybe I'll jump off that. I'm like you, nonfiction is easy for me. I wish I was more creative in that aspect. Maybe my son and I can practice together the way you and Hunter do.

    Tell Hunter I say thank you. He was incredibly helpful and gave me lots of good stuff to think about!

    And thank you to for responding to me in this awesome way!

  1. I'm glad you like the post and happy that anything either of us said could help you. As far as supplies go, I don't think kids are any different than us; if you give us tools that we think are cool, we want to play with them! I hope you and your son enjoy many happy "writing hours", even if no actual writing gets done in them!

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