One of the simplest ways to get your child writing is to get your child thinking. Part of that is filling their facile minds with new ideas and facts. Not all kids enjoy reading. In fact, many will balk at the idea of reading in their “free” time after they’ve just spent time reading in school. I find the best way to get reluctant readers to read, is to use magazines as their reading material.
I like the Cobblestone family of magazines. (And yes, I do write for Odyssey whenever I’m fortunate enough to have the opportunity.) They have magazines for the Elementary crowd, Middle School, and High School. The magazines have amazing graphics and interesting sidebars along with the articles. The kids look forward to getting them in the mail. It’s a win-win, and it doesn’t have to be Cobblestone publications. Sports Illustrated Kids and American Girl are also sure bets! The magazines arrive each month, full of fresh content and new ideas.
I have the child pick a story from one of the magazines–usually a science magazine or a literary magazine. He/she is to read the story, underlining any words that are unfamiliar. We go over the words and figure out what they mean. The child reads it again. Then I give the child a prompt. Depending upon the age he/she creates a topic sentence and a list of details to support the topic sentence, or a topic sentence and three or more sentences with supporting details. Then an ending sentence to seal the deal.
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