When my first grade class first comes into my room in the morning, a mob of quivering little people surround me in breathless anticipation, jostling for position in order to be the first to relay a nonstop staccato rendition of all the details of their lives, and all the news about everyone else that they know, all of which occurred since they left school the day before. However, when I ask the same students to write a story more often than not they respond, "I dunno what to write about." My fellow teachers and I will work on this over the school year, but we can always use help from home. How can you help?

 The simple answer is to have them write and practice at home. Children as young as kindergarten are expected to write in school, so its never too early to start. In another post on my website I’ve written about how to facilitate writing at home for the very young, and gave tips on techniques, materials and tools to utilize. You should reference that article if you haven’t read it, and these more "advanced" tips.

 1) Just as the "oral reports" they barrage me with are a retelling of what they know, most primary children can best write about true life experiences. So have them write about what they know.

 2) Talk about subjects on the way to school or during dinner to bring out possible story ideas that they can share through writing.

 3) Remind them that books have a beginning , middle and end, and so do good stories.

 4) To make a story flow, help them learn and/or utilize some basic transition words (first, next, last, then, etc.) as they write.

 5) Encourage them to use simple describing words to make their story richer.

 6) They should be encouraged to write their feelings and emotions about the subject.

 7) Get a children’s dictionary and help them use it so that stories can be read more easily by others.

 8) They should reread what they have written to see if it makes sense.

 9) Keep a writer’s notebook to carry back and forth to school with story ideas in it.

 10) Be patient and give praise and encouragement, not criticism. Raise them to believe that they are a writer with stories worth telling, and that is what they will become.