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Blog all about it

Reluctant writers may just need an online audience.

By Valle Dwight

Writers are not born, but made. And how do you make a good writer? Practice, practice, practice. Good luck getting your middle-schooler to sit down and write during the summer, right? But it is possible, especially if she has an appreciative audience and is focusing on stuff that interests her — in other words, if it’s as un-school-like as possible! A blog is a great way to bring out your child’s inner Virginia Woolf and will allow her to sound off on her dreams, gripes, hobbies, or passions.

The project: Creating a kid-friendly blog

Get ready: Figure out a focus

  • Help your child brainstorm a topic for the blog. Is she into movies? Suggest that she write reviews, make top-10 lists, or research classic films.
  • A video game blog will connect her with other fans — she can write about what makes a great game and share tips.
  • Have her be the family chronicler. A regular journal about your family’s summer, including photos, will be treasured for years to come.
  • Kids who are passionate about sports have a wealth of fodder for blogs. Follow one team or a whole league.

Make it happen: Jump into the blogosphere

Help your child pick a platform — and establish safety guidelines.

  • Do some research to find the best platform for your child’s blog. Compare various blogging platforms; several, including Blogger and WordPress, are free.
  • Check the privacy options, and set them according to what makes you most comfortable. Also establish some online safety rules like not publishing her full name, address, or other information that might identify her.
  • Once she’s started writing, have her send out the word to friends and family so that they can follow her exploits — nothing spurs on a writer more than encouraging words from readers!

Bust that block

If your child is stumped for a topic on a particular day, here are a few suggestions to get those creative juices flowing:

  • Have her post a photo and describe it.
  • Have her write about her “ideal day” or “dream collection.”
  • Give her a starter sentence to work with. “The most embarrassing thing I ever did was …” or “If I could design the perfect video game, it would have …” Use a topic that relates to the blog and interests your child.
  • Have her research some historic aspect of her blog topic and write about the process and her findings.

Valle Dwight is a reporter, writer, and mother of two school-aged boys. She has written for many magazines, including FamilyFun, Wondertime, and Working Mother.

Comments from GreatSchools.org readers

12/15/2009:
"What a fantastic idea! I have twin daughters in the sixth grade you love to read and write. This is a perfect idea for them to develop something to give them a way to express their thoughts."
08/14/2009:
"You could also have her looking nice for school by checking out some websites and talking about what everybody else is doing. I know a kid that goes to this school and I know they have to wear uniforms so here is one I found that's nice. It's called School uniforms http://www.schooluniforms.com, hope everyone had a nice summer!! "
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