Back to school is looming ahead for some parents with great relief, but that is typically not the case for most teens. As parents, one of the best things we can do is to encourage our kids to write.
Why? Because writing is a key language skill proven to shape future success. We know that the more kids write, the better they will be at it.
The good news is that most teens believe that writing well is important to their success in life – a whopping 86% of teenagers believe this according to a recent PEW Internet and American Life survey
. Even better, they are writing more than ever, but interestingly, they just don’t view digital writing (like blogging, texting, and email) as writing. So let’s build on this knowledge with some ideas on how to encourage your teens to put pen to iPad:
Embrace the Tech that Teens Like to Use.
Easy-to-use digital writing apps for iPads and Android tablets can quickly increase both the quality and quantity of written output. Encourage your teen to try digital writing by downloading one of the many free notetaking apps
and consider getting them a good stylus (pen for digital hand writing). Sounds simple, but providing the tools they need will encourage them to create!
Kids like to be heard, and blogging is a strategy that provides the platform. Blogging can also be used as a powerful means of ongoing reflection. Here are some safe, free, intuitive to use blogging tools: Kidblog
(for younger teens), Blogger, or WordPress.
Ask Them to Share Any Piece of Writing.
Teens feel inspired and motivated when they write something that matters in their own lives – poems, songs/raps, essays, journals – that has an impact. Let them know that their writing matters not only to you, but that what they are creating is socially relevant! (Just a word to the wise here, don’t share it publicly without their permission.)
Provide a Wide Variety of Reading Materials.
Budding writers improve their writing when they read. Encourage them to download good magazine apps like Flipboard
(or even Newser) that offer articles with photos on a huge range of interesting topics. Pass on your own favorite authors, novels, and magazines to show your teen that you’re a reader, too.
Teens frequently complain, “I don’t have anything to write about.” We all have trouble getting started once in a while. Suggest that your teen spend a few minutes jotting down anything and everything that comes to mind – even, "I don’t know what to write"! This has a way of loosening up the writing process and getting ideas flowing.
By Jenny B.