Wondering how to foster creative writing skills in your child? Here's how to go about it.
By Parama Gupta
Creative writing is an important skill to be developed in children. It doesn’t really matter whether your child goes on to become an acclaimed writer or not, creative writing can always bring personal fulfilment.
Here are five ways in which you can develop this skill in your child:
1. Encourage your child to read every day. Try to introduce a variety in her reading habits. While she can read more of the authors and genres she enjoys the most, make sure she explores other genres as well to develop a holistic outlook. Also, encourage her to watch age-appropriate TV programmes and films under your guidance. Have regular discussions about the books she reads or the programmes she watches. Ask her what she finds most exciting or appealing in the story. Learning to appreciate others’ creative output will open up the channels of her own creativity.
2. Give ample practice in writing by introducing simple and interesting exercises with prompts. One way to do this is to provide a series of words or pictures to serve as cues and then asking your child to use them to make up an interesting story. Encourage him to explore different genres such as humour, horror, mystery, fantasy and so on. He can try his hand at different forms of writing such as poetry, prose, short stories and plays. Observe what he enjoys the best and how good he is at it. Then, you can go on to build on his strengths.
3. Encourage keeping a diary to record events, experiences, thoughts and emotions regularly. This will help your child to get into the routine of writing and is the best way to practise writing and track improvement. To make sure she doesn’t get bored and give up this exercise, encourage her to make the diary entries different each day. For example, one day she could write an essay about her day and on another, she could write about an interesting conversation she happened to hear.
4. Make your child understand what goes into building a story. This will mean telling him about the various elements such as the plot, characters, settings, dialogues, and so on, and the structure that binds them into a story. The best way to do this is, perhaps, to give him simple exercises he will enjoy doing. For example, to teach him how to build a setting, ask him to write down everything he observed about a place he recently visited. Similarly, to teach him about characterisation, get him to write detailed descriptions of the habits and physical traits of people he sees every day.
5. Encourage developing creativity and authenticity. Give your child the confidence to bring originality into her ideas and develop an individual style and voice. This will come in time with reading and sufficient practice in writing. Also, try to get her to develop the habit of keen observation and possessing an eye for detail. The more she watches and understands the world around her, the more authentic her writing will be.
If your child follows these tips, you can be sure that his creative writing skills will go up by several notches within a few months. To motivate him, you can look for opportunities to showcase his writing. For example, you can stage a play written by him at the next community programme. You can also create and maintain a blog, inviting friends and family members to give feedback. This will give your young writer the much-needed boost to improve his writing.
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