Encourage Your Kid to Write – with an Autobiography

Helping kids develop a love for reading and writing is one of the most rewarding gifts we can give 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 – they 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

If art and writing can be integrated to support and enrich each other, it can be a 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 was fun, educational, and creative.

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

How about an autobiography?

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

Some of the things I did with Pari as a 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 the stories behind those photos with her, so they were 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 first attempt at writing an autobiography. We’re going to cherish this forever – both she and me!

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

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