“I think that with boys, there is some idea that it’s not masculine or macho to write,” says Rob Jenkins, director of the writers institute at Georgia Perimeter College. Sometimes when girls have nothing to do, they choose to write; but boys are more prone to get outside and bounce a ball or shoot a hoop. Most boys put writing at the bottom of their list, if it even makes their list! According to a new study by Michigan State University researchers, developing language skills appears to be even more important for boys than girls in helping them to develop self-control and ultimately, succeed in school.
Experts advise parents to read to their sons (and daughters) starting at an early age and encourage creative writing and discussion. It might be the best way for children to learn how to think, analyze, control their behavior, and ultimately compete in a global economy. “It’s going to play a big part in getting into the college of your choice. It’s going to play a big part in how you do in college, and ultimately landing the job that you want and …doing well in that job,” Jenkins says.
Parents can set the tone for success in writing through a few simple steps:
- Provide Tools And Space – Supplies include paper, journals, a thesaurus and great lighting.
- Allow Time – Writing for 15 to 20 minutes daily is as important as reading.
- Praise – Show an interest and encourage your young writer.
- Make It Real – Encourage a variety of writing, such as emails, thank you notes, letters to relatives, even lists.
Other suggestions include providing crossword puzzles and playing Scrabble to enhance vocabulary, encouraging journal writing, and suggesting that your child write for the school newspaper or yearbook so that writing deadlines are handled. Also, have your child talk with someone in his or her anticipated career and ask how writing plays a role in his day to day activities at work.
Reading and writing go hand in hand! Imagine that!