As a life skill, and not an academic subject, writing needs to be integrated into different academic areas. Read and regurgitate has been proven as ineffective for long term learning and retention. Integrating writing promotes higher level thinking skills and provides relevancy, which makes sense to most children. Often, we approach writing as its own subject rather than a way to communicate what has been learned. Writing provides an essential evaluation tool that your child can utilize for the rest of his life.
Some ways you can integrate writing into other subject areas include:
- Narration – Ideal for students up through third grade, narration can be utilized in two different ways.
- For pre-writers or younger writers: the student verbally describes what was learned, retells a story or explains a concept while the parent records (writes) the student’s ideas. The narration may then be used for copy work or as an example to teach pre-writing skills.
- Students who can write in complete sentences complete written narrations that describe what was learned, retell a story or explain a concept.
Narration helps a parent determine a child’s comprehension level of the material while also evaluating writing skills. As well, narration reinforces the concepts for the child, allowing for greater retention of the knowledge.
- Summarizing – For a child in third grade or above, summarizing is just a more sophisticated form of narration. The student may summarize a lesson or concept based on a video, reading material or an oral explanation from a parent. When summarizing from reading it’s vital to make sure your child isn’t just copying and slightly changing the written material. One way to do this is to have your child read the assigned section(s), and then close the book or switch the computer screen when summarizing. Writing down key word notes (no complete sentences) while reading may help remind your child of the significant words and ideas that need to be included in the narration.
- Lap Books and Note books – Thematic lap booking and note booking not only allow students to express what they’ve learned, but these types of activities also improve organizational thinking and promote creativity. As adults, it’s not unusual to use these same skills when planning a wedding, organizing our household, creating a presentation for work or scrapbooking.
- Presentations – Whether giving a speech or oral presentation, creating a video or mapping out a Powerpoint slide show, students integrate their written ideas in the process.
- Blogging – Older students can share what they’ve learned by designing their own blog and publishing their writing. Feedback via comments can be very helpful for students as they grow in their writing abilities.
- Teaching – Older children can write simpler explanations of what they’ve learned to teach their younger siblings. You have to understand a concept in order to teach it. One CBB homeschool family actually had an older daughter who wrote children’s books for her siblings about things that she learned.
- Lists and Organizational Tools – students who learn to write lists early on tend to be more organized thinkers as they get older. Mapping and other organizational tools also allow students to organize their ideas in writing for almost any subject.
Integrating writing into your children’s different subject areas in a variety of ways not only helps reinforce academic content, but also allows your children to practice writing in relevant ways. The more your children realize the value of written communication, the better they’ll communicate as they grow.
God bless your homeschooling,
Read other posts in 31 Days of Raising Writers.
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