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Thursday, December 28, 2006

Writing and Kids

I have here before me a squarish red book titled, Games for Writing by Peggy Kaye. I’m so excited about the games in this book that I had to plug it.

Here’s a novel idea. Writing is about writing, not spelling. (I’ll admit, I blinked when I read that. I had my schoolmarm hat on.)

If you read my blog, you know I homeschool. You'd also know my mantra: Learning needs to be fun whenever possible! Handwriting for the K-3rd graders isn’t exactly a love affair. Why else would there be options out there such as Handwriting Without Tears?

This book is full of fun/easy ways to make the hesitant bold, to fan the flame of imagination gone shy, to reinstate the FUN of wribbling. (Read the book to find out what wribbling is, or use your imagination)

The book is divided into five parts. Below I’ll share one idea from each part to whet your curiosity. Keep in mind that some of her game ideas sound even better than the ones I’m sharing…they’d just take too much explanation on my part! The writing games are all aimed at grades K-3.

Part one is titled: Just For Starters:

  • Play obstacle course: Take a blank piece of typing paper and at the top write HOME. At the bottom write ZOO. In between the two fill the paper with short 1.5 inch lines slanted every which way. Your beginning writer gets to practice controlling their pencil as they weave in between lines to get from home to zoo. (Easiest of all home drawn mazes!)

Part two is called: Stress Busters:

  • 15 minutes of silent written conversation. Teacher and child may not talk, but instead write questions and answers back and forth. If anyone talks during the 15 minutes, they get points against them for each spoken word. Words do not need to be neat or spelled correctly. (We’re trying to instill a love of creative writing here, no corrections!)

Part three in the book deals with Spelling, Handwriting and Grammar:

  • Speed contest–give them a page with a challenging spelling word written at the top. Have them study it a couple minutes, then write it as many times as they can in 45 seconds. If they are able to write it (correctly and legibly) enough times, they’ve won the contest.

Part four–Writing With Style:

  • “She is so silly”…have your child write a story about the silliest woman on earth…three or four sentences. She is so silly she wears slippers for mittens. Or “He is so hungry” etc.

Part five ends the book–Made With Pride:

  • Make your own board game. Disclaimer: the author makes a game board based on witchcraft (I know…) my girls and I made a board game based on the Spanish facts we were learning last year. We had as much fun making it as we had playing it.

This book is 225 pages chock full of ideas. It's been a must have for this homeschool mom. My once inhibited third grader is writing and enjoying it. Her writing speed increased dramatically after playing "speed contest" with each week's spelling list.

We that write know what a boon it is. Tis the best game of all, right? So go play it with your kids!

Mary is an old-fashioned thirty-something wife, homeschooler, and aspiring writer. Her blog, Home-steeped Hope, feeds her love/pursuit of the written non-fiction word while her women's fiction "dreams" are being revised...

1 comment:

Gina said...

Great ideas! My first grader is probably bored with manuscript writing. I'll have to try some of these!