Little Hemingway

The Pulitzer Prize gold medal award 한국어: 퓰리처상 ...

Parenting Your Child Writer

Every parent would love to have a Pulitzer prize-winning child. How do you foster your child’s writing skills to produce a writer?

Back to basics

1. A strong vocabulary is the first step. Your child should not only be able to guess a word when given the definition, but should also be able to define words. Once a definition is established, move toward the use of synonyms.

2. Establish the practice of using correct grammar. All of the flowery words in the world are just words unless you can put them together coherently. Structure is as important to a piece of writing, creative or factual, as is the content.

3. Practice. Writing everyday for a young child may be too strenuous, but is certainly not for a teen writer. Just as with any other art, good writing takes practice.

The Next Phase

4. Allow you child to examine his imagination and creative skills. Provide an environment which stimulates his curiosity. Let him know there are no boundaries to where his writing can take him.

5. Enter your child’s work into contests. Begin with contests into which her work already fits. Then, move to contests which require writing on particular subjects or within more stringent guidelines.

6. Seed the beginning of larger work. Whether your child’s propensity is poetry or fiction, have them begin the epic work which may one day open untold doors for him.


Most of all, have faith in your child. The books and poems are pieces of the child’s soul he has chosen to share with you. Relish these moments.


(c) Ann Marie Dwyer 2011
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  1. awarewriter

     /  December 18, 2011

    Good stuff Red but you forgot reading as one of the basics. Get that child a library card. We lived in sight of the local branch of the public library. I had a child’s library card from an early age. One day I approached the librarian and asked her if I could have a young adult card (I was way too young) because I read all the good books in the kid’s section. That lady did not hesitate and I got my new card on the spot.

    Read, read, read and more read.


    • Ahh, foot. I never think to write that. Mine have enough books to build a library children’s section. Good add, McD. Red.

  2. Red, one should also not overlook one of the most important things necessary to promote a child’s literacy–‘other influences’…..for example, one may wish keep the future Hemingway out of the ‘texting’ community unless you want them to ‘b writing txt 4 u. instead of work befitting a future literary genius.

  3. I never thought of writing contests — what a fantastic idea. I’m looking for some in the new year.


    • The great thing about contests is they can stretch your comfort zone. Writing outside where your niche is makes you concentrate in a different way. Good luck! And if you find a good one, come share. There are LOADS of writers around here who adore contests! Good to see you tonight, Liz! Red.

  4. I consider myself a slacker mom. EXCEPT…I was fanatic about my child learning to read. Yup. Did the library card as soon as he could make decent block letters to sign his name. Yup. Read to him every night. Yup. Used all those fun books…not any of that lame Dick & Jane fodder I was fed.
    He had no interest in reading. I was broken-hearted.
    Then….left to his own…about the 4th grade, he started consuming books above his perceived reading abilities. He’s now a voracious reader.
    He still has no interest in writing.
    Maybe the skills come at different stages of life? Maybe writing will never be his skill yet something else will? Maybe we simply expose them to a variety of stimuli…and let them choose.

    • It does have a lot to do with stimuli. I have one who reads like there is no tomorrow. Writes her name. Another one hates to read, loves to write. One uses books as coasters, texts. Another one reads for fun, but she animates. All raised in same house with same mean, militant momma. Go figure.

  5. My Chickens are still too young to write (the oldest not even 4), BUT, I read read READ with my kids ALL THE TIME. We also spend a LOT of time playing ‘imagination’ where we tell stories through play. So, they might not yet be ready to put their ideas to paper, just getting their little brains to work in overdrive is a step in the writer’s direction….don’t you think?

    • Yes, it is. Foster the creativity. And give yourself your first grey hairs…get them started writing. Even in crayon, stories come to life. Little V was three when she built her first SpongeBob story board. She could not “write” (read anything I knew was not scribble), but she “read” it to me, and it made perfect sense.

      Opportunity is the mother of invention. Expose them to the stories and engage the imagination. Sounds like the cure to writer’s block, eh?

  6. It will sound crazy, saying that I hate the technology age since this blogging thing is pretty nice, BUT…..when it comes to creativity in children….it puts a damper on it. I try my best to unplug them. When unplugged, I get to see some amazing drawing and cartoons from my son and I get to listen to some stories and songs from my daughter.

    • OK, but crazy like a fox. Unplugging them is a definite need. We use gobs of electronic tools in teaching, but the best results are still with construction paper, a sheet ream of paper and the art box of coloring sticks. I have a secret to that as well…May just have to post the ways to unplug. Red.

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