How to Teach Writing Skills to Older Kids
A writer is a person who writes about stuff. In order to write about stuff, you have to know stuff and do stuff. That sounds really basic and juvenile, but it is the reason why I am against writing programs for children under twelve years old. Most of the writing prompts for younger children aren’t very exciting and they know it. But we do need to know how to teach writing skills to teenagers.
A teenager has more to say than, “I did this and then I did this.” A lot of journal prompts for younger kids ask for those types of simplistic answers. Not all of them, but many. However, teenagers resist those types of writing activities. They think deeply, they have had some experience with life, their command of language is better, fine motor skills are more developed and they have the mental capacity to absorb tons of knowledge in a short period of time. In contrast, a young child possesses none of these and writing is often laborious for them. Forcing younger children to write will guarantee that they hate writing. Instead, teach young children to write with games and other activities.
Fun Ways to Work on Pre-Writing Skills
Since the typical age for children working on pre-writing lines is ages 2-5, I like to focus on fine motor skills that promote learning these lines and shapes instead of using paper and pencils/crayons. Your child will need the fine motor strength these activities provide in order to have good pre-writing lines and later good letter formations.
Check out my brand new ebook, The Basics of Pre-Writing Skills for Kids. This ebook takes an in-depth look at the developmental sequence of pre-writing lines and why they are an important part of the foundations for handwriting skills.
More Handwriting Resources
CONTENT DISCLAIMER: Heather Greutman is a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant.
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Writing Inspiration Apps
Why We Love It: This app sparks creativity in pre-writers and helps build their storytelling skills. Spin the wheel and record your voice telling a story about the picture. Spin the wheel again for more prompts. Several kids can play at once, building a story to playback together.
Why We Love It: Every roll of the virtual dice yields pictures that tell a whole new story. Choose one or all of the images to use in your writing. Story Dice 3-D (Apple App Store only) adds the ability to move the dice around, and re-roll some or all of them.
Writing Challenge for Kids
Why We Love It: This app generates a series of characters, scenarios, and situations to create unique creative writing prompts over and over again. You can choose from several choices to customize each prompt as you go along.
Why We Love It: This app is terrific for teens and older writers who need to generate new creative ideas. A selection of tools helps you find inspiration for characters, plots, settings, and more. You can even add in your own words to create custom sets.
Why We Love It: Get new writing prompts from hundreds of scenarios and ideas. Teachers, this is a nice way to come up with a daily bell-ringer or journal prompt. (This same company also offers Character Prompts, a similar app but for character inspiration.)
Lists for Writers
Why We Love It: Add variety to your writing and break through writer’s blocks with these lists of, well, pretty much anything! Creating a new character and feeling stuck? Browse lists of names, character traits, physical characteristics, and more. Get the same for settings, plots, and all the other details that even the best writers sometimes draw a blank on.
Why We Love It: Kids build their story-telling skills while creating one-minute movies with this surprisingly robust free app. Encourage students to plan and script out their story in advance to work on writing skills, then enjoy the fun movies they create! (Teacher Tip: Try this app for incredibly creative book reports.)
Why We Love It: Storybird’s tools give kids the opportunity to write comics, short stories, chapter books, and more. Choose from existing illustrations and add your own text to create unique masterpieces. The professional artwork is wide-ranging, and writing challenges help kids expand their skills and push their creativity to new heights.