Writing is an essential skill for this generation. Email, texting, written reports … A facility with language can only be a good thing. Since strong writing shares several traits, the good news is that even if writing isn’t your thing, there are still many things you can do to help your child become a strong writer. We’ll take them one at a time over the next several weeks.
One important trait of good writing is a strong IDEA. Getting from a topic or general idea to a specific idea is not easy. As a writer, I find it one of the most difficult parts of getting started. It’s not enough to know you’ll write about dogs. A writer needs to know what about dogs it is they’ll write about. Will it be about puppies, old age, the things a dog needs, the type of foods they eat, why they make good pets? Maybe it will be about pets in general, or cats, or kittens. Just because the first thought was to write about dogs doesn’t mean a writer settles down to write about dogs.
You can help your child get better at this by helping him brainstorm. Brainstorming is a process where a person, or more than one person, comes up with all the possible associations a word or group of words has. The ideas can range all over the place. The key is to let the ideas come and follow where they go until the “aha!” moment is reached and the writer – your child – has a solid idea.
With a solid idea, strong writing is a snap!