Developing Word Choice to Help Your Child Become a Strong Writer

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 of the simplest traits of good writing is WORD CHOICE. The better your child’s vocabulary, the more words they have at their disposal. Think of it like crayons for the color blue. You want your child to have more than one hue. You want her to be able to use navy blue, sky blue, indigo, azure… The more colors, the more nuance, the more powerful the writing will be.

With young kids, start by reading books like, Big Words for Little People or Cookies: Bite-Size Life Lessons. Be sure to talk about the words while you’re at it.

Where to start with the older crowd? Explain that words are just containers for ideas and concepts. They get us close to what we mean but not all the way there. “Angry” is a good example. We can use “angry”, “very angry,” or “so angry I couldn’t believe it.” Wouldn’t it be better to know words like “angry,” “irate,” or “furious”? Words that give us just the right shade of meaning?

A good thesaurus like the Scholastic Children’s Thesaurus has synonyms and definitions.  Pick a word and make a game out of using the synonyms.  The more often you do this, the stronger your child’s writing will become.

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