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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!