Writing

Noted science fiction writer Ray Bradbury once said, “We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.”

Since the first caveman scribed his symbols on the cave wall, writing has been a wonderful form of communication.We have come a long way, from those first symbols to our present day alphabets, which are most often seen via typewritten words that appear on paper or the Internet.

How do we help our children learn to write?Before my children could read or write, they would recite what they wanted me to write down, their stories, thank you notes, letters and thoughts for their journals. They would watch me write out the words to see how letters were formed and how they flowed together.Eventually they began to learn to read those words and when they were ready, they began writing them down on their own.

Handwriting allows us to write down our thoughts on paper and communicate effectively with others.The articles below offer a wealth of information on handwriting, writing methods and even some information about the history of writing.

Articles on Writing

Getting it Down: Ways to Encourage Reluctant Writers by Sue Smith Heavenrich “Beyond storytelling, writing is a valuable skill – for taking notes, organizing thoughts, communicating ideas. So how do we get our reluctant writers to write? Clearly the workbooks we were using weren’t helping. “Write about being an astronaut on the moon” generated a short paragraph of sentences similar to what one might read in a science reader. This was not the sort of writing I had in mind.”

Developing a Writer’s Toolkit by Cafi Cohen “In the beginning, I saw no relationship between trying to help my kids with their writing and improving the writing of an adult (me). For Jeff and Tamara, I looked for grammar exercises and creative writing assignments and topics for school-type reports. For me? I read good writing, and I wrote and rewrote, and I read about the processes of successful writers.”

Wonderful Writing: From Runes to Romulan by Rebecca Rupp “There’s more than one way to write. These days there are, in fact, well over 150 ways to write worldwide, including phonemic alphabets that use symbols to represent individual vowel and consonant sounds – like the Roman (now ours), the Greek, and the Cyrillic, syllabaries that use symbols to represent syllables – as in Cherokee, Inuktitut, and Japanese hiragana, and logographic scripts such as Chinese, in which individual characters represent words for objects or ideas. Then there are wholly imaginary scripts – say, J.R.R. Tolkien’s Elvish, or Star Trek’s Romulan and Klingon – and alternative writing systems such as Louis Braille’s raised-dot alphabet for the blind. Enough, in other words, to keep interested kids busy for weeks.”

Letter Writing by Rebecca Rupp “Toad is miserable because he never gets mail; the kind-hearted Frog promptly writes him a letter — but then entrusts its delivery to a very slow snail. All eventually ends happily, but young readers will sympathize with Toad’s disappointment with his empty mailbox and the awful frustrations of waiting.”

Writing Group Strategies by Karen Kirkwood “Teaching independent unschoolers was no easy task. I gave suggestions, discussed writing techniques and grammar rules, and offered writing exercises, but I never forced, demanded or required. It wouldn’t have worked, and I wouldn’t have wanted it to. Activities were always optional, as was sharing their work. Learning to write is about firing the editor within and letting loose creativity, which cannot be mandated.”

Q&A: Handwriting edited by Laura Weldon “My son has completely illegible handwriting. I don’t expect him to write reams, but it is an essential skill to communicate via writing. We joke that if he were stranded on a desert isle, any note he put in a bottle wouldn’t save him. Any ideas I can use to inspire him?”

Learning to Read: The Reading-Writing Connection by Sue Smith Heavenrich “No matter who you talk to about reading, after awhile one thing becomes clear. Reading and writing are part of the same process. In teaching children to read, we teach them that there is a connection between what is printed and the spoken word. In writing, we reinforce that. Just as some parents worry about whether their children will ever learn to read, I used to fret that I’d be taking dictation from my kids when they were in college. They simply don’t write.”

Resources for Writing

Lillian Jones’s Best Homeschooling Links The Written Word, Reading and Language: Links to learning language arts, children’s literature, reading, grammar, writing, word games & puzzles, vocabulary, poetry, spelling, dictionaries, languages, and more…

YourDictionary.com Links to over 500 dictionaries online: a free online English dictionary and much more. The free dictionary search gives you definitions, thesaurus entries, spelling, pronunciation, and etymology results for your word. Alternately, you can browse the dictionary alphabetically or by related terms to find meanings and synonyms. In addition, YourDictionary provides resources to help you find the best dictionary and translation sites for French, Spanish, Italian, German and hundreds of other languages.

Stone Soup A magazine by young writers and artists, stories and poems by young writers, the website iincludes recordings of authors reading their own work and hundreds of beautiful paintings and drawings by young artists from all over the world.

Literacy Center Education Network Teach A Child to Write: Free colorful online activities for teachers and parents.

Skipping Stones Multicultural, nonprofit magazine for youth that encourages communication, cooperation, creativity and celebration of cultural and environmental richness. It provides a playful forum for sharing ideas and experiences among youth from different countries and cultures. Encourages submissions from young writers.

Writing Strands Writing Strands is a program designed to teach children how to use their language effectively in creative and expository modes. The upper levels of the series have creative, basic, research and report, argumentative, and explanatory training. The lower levels teach the skills needed by the students to be able to take advantage of the upper levels’ exercises. If students complete the Writing Strands series with competence, they will be ready to write any of the papers assigned at university level.

HEM Back Issues Package: Reading & Writing This package includes an approximately equal number of articles on reading and writing subjects, including special topics such as spelling and unspelling, free writing, discovering your writer’s voice, writing groups, book clubs, making your own book, and reading Shakespeare.

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