Encourage Your Kid to Write – with an Autobiography

by Rashmie Jaaju on August 8, 2011 · 13 comments

in Read & Write

Helping kids develop a love for reading and writing is one of the most rewarding gifts we can give to them as parents and educators.

While reading can open up a whole new world to them, writing helps them think, reflect, express and articulate their thoughts. And in this whole process – know, explore and understand themselves better.

Out of the different ways that I offer reading and writing opportunities to Pari, one of the most endearing ways is by – -

Integrating Writing with Art

I think if art and writing can be integrated in a way that both support and enrich each other, it can be a really wholesome learning experience for the child.

Last week, Pari made a life-size self portrait which turned out to be the most heartening way of self-reflection. Encouraged by open-ended questions, self-reflection and studying herself in the mirror – it turned out to be fun, educational and creative.

The next day, I saw a great writing opportunity – an extension of the self-portraiture activity

How about an autobiography?

We sat together to understand – in the simplest of explanation – what an autobiography means. We also discussed how it is different from a biography.

Some of the things I did with Pari as pre-writing exercise were:

  1. I explained the meaning of an autobiography by taking some examples from her books. One of the books - 'Black Beauty' was a perfect example. We have this 1877 classic by Ana Sewell not in the novel format but in a comic book form with gorgeous illustrations, which makes reading (or being read to) easier for a child. It's a touching, heartwarming tale of a black horse (a Mustang) narrated in first person. A must-have.
  2. Before she began penning gown her autobiography, I had her sift through her photos on my laptop – sorted from birth till the present. When the events and memories come alive in the form of photos, writing can flow easily from them. Besides, I have always shared with her the stories behind those photos, so, they were there at the back of her mind when browsing through them.
  3. When she finally sat down to write, I gave her some photos in print. This really added to the excitement as she laid out the photos on her spiral leather-bound diary.

So, here she goes – her very first attempt at writing autobiography. We're going to cherish this for ever – both she and me!

What other interesting ways do you suggest for encouraging writing in young children?