Just like reading scores, writing test scores indicate that boys have fallen far behind girls across the all grades. What can we do to get boys excited about writing?
Tips to Encourage Boys to Write
In general, boys don’t really like to write as much as girls and it is showing in test scores and in other areas. The educational gap between genders continues to widen. I have moms ask me all the time for tips on getting boys to enjoy reading and writing. So, what can we do to encourage boys to write?
Ralph Fletcher is the author of Boy Writers: Reclaiming Their Voices. He said the following:
“I’ve spent most of my professional career helping teachers find wiser ways of teaching writing. In the past few years I’ve become interested in how we might do a better job of engaging our boy writers. Empirical and anecdotal evidence suggests that boy writers are struggling. According to the most recent NAEP test results (2011) 38% of 8th grade girls scored “proficient” or above–only 18% of 8th grade boys scored proficient.”
Parents and teachers need to be uniting to find ways to encourage boys to write.
Here are a few fun ideas to get boys to write.
1. Find Their Passion
Find out what your boys are passionate about and have them write about it. Writing doesn’t have to be just fictional stories. If they love sports, have them write a sports story on the latest game. If they love history, have them write about what it would have been like to live at the time of a famous historical event. If they love Minecraft, have them write about their latest build. If they are passionate about it, they will want to write about it.
2. Give Encouragement, Not Criticism
When boys are learning to write, make sure you encourage them for their efforts instead of criticizing them about handwriting or grammar. It is hard to want to do something if you are always being corrected. When you are encouraging them to write, keep the focus on the fact that they are writing. Grammar, spelling and handwriting will come with practice.
3. Writing Prompts
Use some writing prompts to make it easier for boys to come up with a topic. Type up some writing prompts, cut them out and put them in a jar where they can choose a new one each day.
I have found several great sites that have writing prompts to help you get started:
- Writing Prompts for Kids
- Creative Writing Prompts for Kids
- Dr Seuss Writing Prompts
- Minecraft Writing Prompts (love these!)
- LEGO Writing Prompts
Or purchase a Mother/Son Journal. These are my favorite way to encourage my boys to write. This Mother/Son journal is fun because they give simple prompts that you can fill in and pass back and forth. Once you are done, there is a certificate and you choose a fun activity to do together to celebrate.
4. Use Drawing or Pictures
My boys love drawing pictures, but not necessarily writing. Have them draw pictures and then write about the story that they drew. When my oldest boys were young, they would make up puppet shows for us. They would spend hours making puppets and writing their show. Or, show them a picture and have them write about it. If you have pictures of family vacations or events, show them the picture and let them write. If you son is into photography, give them a camera and let them tell a story through their pictures and then have them write captions for each image. One of my sons loves to draw comic strips. The possibilities are endless!
5. Publish Their Writing
Who wouldn’t love a book of something they had written? There are several ways you can do this. You could make a book at home and either bind it yourself or take it to an office supply store and get it bound. You can also purchase a blank hard-cover writing book. My son’s 2nd grade teacher had the kids write books that she then sent away to be published at Studentreasures.com. Out of all of my boys, he struggled with writing the most. But he LOVED making his book and worked really hard to get the writing and pictures just right.
Find a child your son’s age that lives in a different state and have them write letters back and forth. It is so much fun to receive letters in the mail now that email/texting/messaging has taken over. If you can’t find another child, have them write to a grandparent or other family member. You could even have them write to their favorite sports star or other famous person. Who knows, they might get a letter in return.
7. Keep it Fun
Make writing fun. Turn it into a game. One way to do to this would be to put some random objects in a bag or box and have them pull them out one at a time and create a story. The sillier the better. Or, write as a group. Have one person start a story and write a sentence or two. Then pass the paper so the next person who keeps the story going. Who knows where that type of story will end up. Make it fun!
What can you add to our list of Tips to Encourage Boys to Write?
This post is a part of our series 31 Days of Tips for Raising Boys. Each day throughout the series we are discussing a different topic regarding raising boys. I’d love for you to follow along and share this series with other parents of boys who may need some support or just to hear that they aren’t alone in their journey of raising boys.