Kids and Writing (Melissa Robbins)

I am the last person that should be writing about passive and active voice. See? I used 'am'. I cringe when I find “was” or “were” when editing my manuscript, but I am learning. I tried finding examples in published works, but I saw a lot of 'was' and 'were', so maybe a writer can get away with it.

Anyway, I am going to be the naughty blogger and not stay on topic, but I promise to stick with the subject of writing.

My daughter, Emma is seven and reading and writing are NOT her favorite subjects. Emma loves books and being read to, but getting her to read books to me or anyone else, is a nightmare. Emma has her own books and claims she reads them, but I don't think she actual reads them.

Emma has an unbelievable imagination and comes up with amazing stories. She made a fairy godmother the bad guy. How cool is that? Over the summer, I encouraged her to write down her stories and offered to “publish” them for her grandparents, but Emma would not do it. She hates all things writing related. As a writer, that breaks my heart.

So, readers, what do I do? Any tips on getting kids excited about reading and writing? I think kids' writing skills are deteriorating. Texting, anyone? Should I accept the fact that Emma is a storyteller and not a writer? Should I be her ghost writer? Forget writing and get her into acting classes instead?


Rox Delaney said...

I meant to comment yesterday, but life got in the way. :)

I have 4 daughters. The oldest is an eclectic reader who inhales books, the next to oldest never finished reading an entire book until she was in high school, when she read Sharon Sala/Dinah McCall's Jackson Rule. The next to youngest enjoys reading, but doesn't inhale them, and the youngest has her favorite genres, but rarely ventures beyond them.

Sometimes it just takes some time to find the right kind of stories. Emma has plenty of time to do that. :)

Rox Delaney said...

Storytellers don't always become writers, but...

This is just a suggestion, but ff Emma is willing to "tell" her stories to you or to a tape recorder (or you could sneak one under her bed? ::grin::), you'd have a record of them. Later, when she feels more comfortable, those audio files could be transferred to text. She might find that she's very proud to see her stories in print.

Penny Rader said...

Hi Melissa! My two oldest daughters love to read every bit as much as I do.

My third daughter isn't an avid reader, but since I almost always give books as gifts, sometimes I'll luck out and find something she likes. :D She likes the Chicken Soup for the Soul books. She called me the other day to ask about I had given her ten years ago. It's about birthdays and personalities.

My son reads sometimes. He likes the Halo books and Stephen King's Dark Tower series. He even had two books on his recent b-day list! It makes my heart sing to see people reading. My grandson says he doesn't like to read, but he loves the Captain Underpants and Wimpy Kids series. Both my son and my grandson are huge fans of video games.

When I was growing up I couldn't get enough of books. (But I also felt tremendously guilty for reading, so I usually read in my room. If someone came in, I'd pop up and get busy cleaning, or something.)

My mom always had magazines around (for those times when she actually sat down!), but I don't remember ever seeing her or my dad read books. My brother and middle sister never sat around reading. My baby sister loved books, too. Would you believe that now both of my parents and all of my siblings are readers? Sometimes it just takes time and finding the right book.

I love Rox's idea about recording/taping your daughter's stories. She's still really young, so maybe reading and writing don't come easily to her yet. How cool that she has such a great imagination.

Just a P.S. Maybe you should have her tested? Since she likes to hear stories and makes them up all on her own, it could be that something's making it hard for her to read and write. My sister who didn't used to read for fun told me recently that she was dyslexic. Blew me away 'cause I had no idea.

Melissa Robbins said...

Thanks for the suggestions. Emma would love for me to record her talking.

Penny, Emma has been tested. She can read and write, but lacks the confidence to show it. That's why I was trying to push the book writing. I thought if she was reading/writing something she cares about, it would build her confidence.

Penny Rader said...

Me again. ;D Does she like to teach? Maybe she could help tutor another student? Maybe tutor is too strong of a word. Reading and/or telling stories to babies and toddlers might give her some confidence without tons of performance pressure. I used to have my older kids read to the younger ones. Gave them practice and me time to fix supper. ;D I'll hush now 'cause I'm not sure I'm making sense.