Here's a great strategy for character studies from ateacherstreasure.com. From a book that they are reading, have the child illustrate the character based on the physical traits mentioned in the text. Then have them create thought bubbles to describe the character's point of view and senses throughout the text.
There's often a lot of focus put on getting children to love to read, but what about writing? Here are some great ideas from themeasuredmom.com.
How to Get Kids to Love Writing
1. Have a story-filled life.
The best writers are avid readers. Read to your child every day. You say your child’s in middle school? Read to your child every day. Pick a book above your child’s reading ability, or take turns reading pages in a book of his choice. When your children are young, tell stories in the car, the doctor’s office, or when you’re pushing the stroller. Above all, talk to your children.
2. Recognize and celebrate early writing.
When your two-year-old scribbles and calls it his name, he’s writing. When your preschooler writes a string of letters and tells you what it says, he’s writing. And when your kindergartner draws a picture and adds a single word, she’s writing too. Call it that. Celebrate it!
3. Let your child see you write.
When you’re in a rush to head out the door and are scribbling down a grocery list – and your preschooler hangs over your shoulder and asks what you’re doing – take a second. Show him. Let him watch you make lists, send e-mails, write thank you notes, and compose a note for his lunch box.
4. Provide a great variety of writing tools and surfaces for writing, and give your child easy access to them.
Give your children pens, chalk, paint, and markers. Get big pads of newsprint, a chalkboard, or a dry erase board. When your child knows her letters, put her at the computer. Make the font big and bright, and let her type.
5. Create a writing space.
Set up a quiet corner for your child to write. If space is an issue, pack writing materials into a portable container that your child can pull out at the kitchentable. Include pens and pencils, pads of paper and envelopes, a notebook, and a spelling dictionary appropriate for your child’s age.
6. Schedule quality writing time into your day.
Don’t put a writing prompt in front of your child and call that teaching writing. While prompts can serve a useful purpose, the focus of your writing time should be short mini-lessons and plenty of time for independent writing. What’s a mini-lesson? Here are just a few examples:
a) Teach your child how to streeetch out a word and write its sounds. b) Teach your child how to brainstorm writing ideas. c) Teach your child to reread her work after she’s written it.
My plan is provide lots of writing mini-lessons in the future. So check back herefor more ideas.
Give your child writing time as often as you can. Would one book a week help your child love to read? Neither would one writing session promote a love of writing. If your child is resistant, use your best judgment. But keep in mind that frequent writing develops the habit of writing. I think that three days a week of 20-40 minutes (depending on age) is better than five days of just 10 minutes a day.
7. Give your child authentic writing experiences.
Let her help write the grocery list. Give her the pen to add a note at the end of the letter you’re writing. Let her write the note for the mail carrier or neighbor. An older child can plan the menu or write out the packing list for vacation. All children can write thank-you notes – even if it’s just a picture and their name.
8. Let art be a part of writing. When children first begin writing, their stories are mainly pictures. Let them write the story they want to tell and then write or dictate words to you. As they get older they’ll still love to illustrate their stories or add embellishments with stamps and stickers. Older children might enjoy drawing comics to tell their stories.
9. Teach your child to write in all different genres.
For many of us, writing time at school was either “creative” writing to a prompt, or a report. There’s so much more! Poems don’t have to rhyme. (A list of sounds you hear outdoors is a poem.) Writing down a favorite recipe (as the child recalls it) is a wonderful way to practice nonfiction writing. A story doesn’t have to be an original tale; your child can retell a favorite fairy tale in writing.
10. Have realistic expectations about spelling and grammar.
Spelling and grammar are absolutely important, but not all at once. Focusing too much on spelling and grammar will squelch creativity in young writers and destroy enthusiasm in older ones. As your child’s literacy grows, you’ll know what words to hold him accountable for. But you will only know this when you have regular writing time.
11. Don’t forget about spelling and grammar.
Wait a second. Didn’t we just talk about this? Some teachers and parents become so concerned about not overdoing grammar and punctuation that they adopt a “hands-off” approach. Kids know when their writing is careless. If you don’t hold them accountable for what they can do, and teach them new things as they are ready, they will continue to produce sloppy work that they cannot take pride in. Remember that words, sentences, and ideas are first. But spelling and grammar are a definite second.
12. Play games to teach writing skills.
Take a break from the radio or DVD player in your car. Instead, play word games to increase vocabulary. At home, pull out board games like Scattergories and Apples to Apples. In the future, I’ll be posting about games to promote a love of writing. Check here for ideas.
13. Give support and encouragement.
When your child is writing, be as helpful as you can. Talk through ideas. Supply help with spelling and punctuation when it’s asked for. Think of yourself not as a critic, but as a helper and encourager.
14. Publish your kids’ writing. Let them make their own books.
Submit their writing to contests or children’s magazines. Let them type their work on the computer. Consider putting their finished stories into a book with an online publishing program.
Here's a clever way to make practicing those sight words more exciting. Visit: iheartcraftythings.com for the downloadable printables and then follow these rules that they created:
How to Play: Start the game with your shamrock game piece outside the pot on the left side of "they". Roll the dice and move that many spaces on the board, landing on a sight word. You can use 2 dice to get some more addition practice too. Now read the sight word, then write it on your Shamrock Notepad Card. Continue playing until your Notepad Card is full. You could easily do at least 2 Notepad Cards each game if you have the time.
Here's a fun idea from nurturestore.co.uk. Take a long, narrow piece of paper and fold it in half, then in half again. You've now got a little "zig zag" book for your child to write whatever comes out of that creative little mind.
With such a technology driven world, typing skills are more important than ever, even for kids. Here's a fun website that teaches the basics of typing. See what it's all about at: bbc.co.uk/schools/typing.