We often get asked about encouraging kids to write stories when they struggle with hand writing or are struggling with other aspects of their literacy. We are also asked why we let kids use their laptops or iPads in our sessions, instead of insisting they use paper and pen.
It really doesn’t matter how a story is written, so long as its written.
Did you know that in order to write a great story, you don’t have to actually put the words on paper yourself? Creating the story and writing it down are two different processes.
Dame Barbara Cartland is one of the most prolific authors of the 20th century. She holds the World Record for the highest number of books published in a year, in 1977! She didn’t actually write her books, she dictated them to her secretary who then typed them up for her. Much of her success is attributed to this collaborative process. For more writing tips from Barbara Cartland, click here.
If you have a child who is struggling with handwriting or typing, encourage them to dictate their story to you, or use some voice to text software. In my Virtual Writers Groups, I sometimes suggest the kids could even use smoke signals if they want to, although this is not recommended…
While they are dictating their story, write it down word for word and do your best not to add in your own thoughts and comments. When it comes to the editing stage, then you can offer your assistance to shape the story.
If your goal is also to improve handwriting, then break the story writing into two steps. The first is to get the story written, the second is for your child to copy out what they have typed or dictated to you in their own handwriting. This means your child can focus on one thing at a time. This can help a lot of kids. It certainly helped my son when we were working on his handwriting.
Some kid simply prefer typing their stories, some prefer handwriting. Some may prefer writing with sparkly pens or crayons than with a blue pen or grey-lead pencil.
No matter how your child wants to write their story, there is no right or wrong way, it’s all about the story and getting those words down on paper.