Looking for ways to keep your child writing this summer? Even reluctant writers like picking out interesting stamps and sending short notes to family and friends. It’s fun to go shopping for stamps online with your child and let them choose the design that they like best. They are much more likely to enjoy the letter-writing process if they feel in control of these details.
In my work as a teacher both in England and in the U.S., I learned that most children don’t really want to spend their time writing at home. It was the rare student who reported choosing to write at home without prompting. In order to engage young writers it helps to keep the process really short and fun. Some kids would rather copy out a brief joke or riddle to send a smile to someone in their life. Emerging writers can draw a picture with their name, a title or a few words to label their art.
Sending letters in the mail is a great way to build writing “stamina”. Short writing activities that have plenty of positive associations can help improve your child’s confidence and redefine some of their notions of writing as more of a chore than a pleasure. Receiving letters as a reply to their missive is also a great bonus and can motivate them to continue the dialogue.
Other benefits of sending letters to loved ones include strengthening our connection to others and developing empathy for what they might be experiencing in their lives. During this time of increased “distancing”, little acts of caring can truly enhance our feelings of closeness in a time that keeps us all so far apart.