5 Writing Activity Ideas for Reluctant Writers
Reluctant writer activities can go a long way to helping a reluctant writer get more comfortable writing and improving their skills. When students gain just a little bit of confidence in their writing abilities, it can make writing much less frustrating. Here are a few reluctant writer activities that have worked well with my reluctant writer.
Find a Pen Pal
Writing letters is one of the favorite writing activities around our house. We rotate between various relatives – cousins, aunts, grandparents, etc. I have wonderful memories of receiving letters from an Egyptian pen pal when I was a girl. I’m sure there are wonderful pen pals and pen pal programs out there today, but with all the shady internet people around, we’ve decided to stick to family members.
If you are really lucky, sometimes the relatives even write back! My girls love getting letters and cards from my aunt, who they have written to and received letters from several times. We just use blank cards that I had around the house.
If you have a beginning writer, I suggest you draw lines on the card to make it easier to write and stay in a straight line. The first few times, I simply held a worksheet from on our of our spelling workbooks and drew lines the same height. This way my daughter had some continuity in the space available for writing.
Now, I just estimate it and she does fine. I do still draw the solid top and bottom lines with a dashed line through the middle.
If you really want to keep this activity short, you could get post cards from your area and have your child write a sentence on the back.
Make Their Writing Pop
Another activity that could be popular with reluctant writers who love to draw is pop-up stories. We found this scholastic pop-up activities to teach different genres of writing. Even though it says that it’s for grades 3-5, my first grader used it without issue. Her story was just shorter.
And she looooves thinking up the stories and coloring the templates.
For each genre, there is usually more than one template and story starter. There is artwork to make up a scene from the story and pre-writing activities.
My daughter actually just brought the book over to me while I was writing this and asked to start another story, so there ya go!
Change It Up
One thing that can really help if your child just doesn’t want to write period, is to change up how you are writing. My daughter was always reluctant to do spelling words or try to sound out a word when she was writing. Then, one day I let her do it on our small magnetic dry erase board and….voila! She started trying and enjoying.
And, yes, she also doodled a little bit with the pretty pink marker I had given her, but who cares, she was writing!
One day I gave her a piece of rainbow scratch paper and a “scratcher” and let her do her spelling words on that. She loved it! You can sometimes find this paper at the dollar store, so keep you eye out.
Everyone knows that most kids looove to be silly. Whether it’s telling jokes, goofing off, or just being plain ol’ silly. Any time you can make learning more playful, I think kids tend to be more engaged and willing to try activities that are generally more challenging for them. Writing is no different.
When it comes to writing, I think creating silly sentences is a great way to encourage a reluctant writer. Young writers enjoy making silly sentences and using their imagination. I created a free, printable reluctant writer activity just for this. You can get it here.
One thing that is nice about What a Silly Sentence is that the word bank includes all the words needed to create the sentences. This empowers your young learner to know how to spell every.single.word without having to ask for help. What a way to build confidence in their writing!
Is Your Child Artsy?
You might be thinking “what does art have to do with writing?” Well, a lot of children love to draw and doodle. So, why not combine the two. Children are much more likely to try a challenging activity if they are really interested in one part.
My first grader loves art. LOVES IT. So, when she struggles with learning something new, I try to somehow incorporate art. One way I do this with writing is with my Draw and Write Story Template. You can get your free copy here.
Students draw a picture or doodle in the space at the top. Then they can describe the doodle or tell a story about in the space on the bottom.
Teaching a reluctant writer can be difficult and frustrating – both for you and them! I hope these reluctant writer activity suggestions help alleviate some of the frustration and get your child started on the road to a love of writing.