No matter what language your child is learning to write in, writing is about communication. And that means finding the words to explain feelings and ideas. It’s that simple. So when you help your child to learn to write in your home language, you’re helping her to learn to write in English, too.
Perhaps most importantly, as a parent who knows your child, you can connect your child to real-world reasons to get excited about writing. For many children, writing assignments at school may not seem relevant to their everyday lives. By tapping into your child’s interests, you can help your child use writing for communication that will matter to her and help her understand the power of the pen.
5 ideas to help with writing
Get your child to practice writing with these fun ideas. Whether your child writes in your home language or in English, the writing practice will boost your child’s skills. If your child writes in the home language, can she try writing a version in English, too?
I miss you Grandma!
Does your child have relatives back home? Have your child write them an old-fashioned letter. A lot of children have never experienced the thrill of getting a letter in the mail, and this correspondence with a faraway relative can help them get excited about how writing can connect us to the people we love.
Penpal to the stars
Does your child have a living hero? Whether it’s a sports star or an actor, writing a fan letter can help children understand that writing is an important way to reach people who you might otherwise never have contact with. And who knows, your child might even get a reply!
If your child wants to create a Christmas list, require a real letter to Santa, complete with conversational questions about the north pole, how the elves live, and the health of Mrs. Claus. Explain that Santa is much more likely to read kind and thoughtful letters than lists of toys.
Thank you teacher
Teachers are your partner in educating your child. You want your child’s teacher to know you appreciate her, and you want to teach your child to respect education and teachers. Have your child write his teacher a thank you card or birthday card. It’s a great way to learn the powerful skill of expressing appreciation in print.
Be the change
Does your child feel that something about the world should change? Have your child write a complaint to or about a company or post an opinion online. It could mean writing an email to a politician whose views your child disagrees with or arguing that Chupa Chups needs a new flavor. The topic doesn’t really matter; it’s all about your child believing that her ideas are important!
Perhaps you can think of even better ways to get your child writing. Whether your child writes in your home language or in English, what matters most is that your child is using writing to engage in meaningful communication. In the end, making this connection between words on a page and expressing their ideas will help their writing skills in ways that will last for years.