Review: Your Child’s Writing Life by Pam Allyn

2011, Avery Trade, NetGalley, nonfiction, Pam Allyn, review 0 Comments 14th August, 2011

Your Child’s Writing Life: How to Inspire a Love of Words and Instill Lasting Confidence and Creativity in Your Child by Pam Allyn
Publisher: Avery Trade 
Release date: August 2, 2011
Source: Publisher via NetGalley 
Format: eARC 
Series: N/A 
Purchase: Book Depository 

Summary from Goodreads:
An illuminating, first-of-its-kind resource to help parents foster a love of writing in their child’s life.

New educational research reveals that writing is as fundamental to a child’s development as reading. But though there are books that promote literacy, no book guides parents in helping their child cultivate a love of writing. In this book, Pam Allyn, a nationally recognized educator and literacy expert, reminds us that writing is not only a key skill but also an essential part of self-discovery and critical to success later in life. Allyn offers the “the five keys” to help kids WRITE-Word Power, Ritual, Independence, Time, and Environment-along with fun, imaginative prompts to inspire and empower children to put their thoughts on the page.

A groundbreaking blueprint for developing every child’s abilities, Your Child’s Writing Life teaches parents how to give a gift that will last a lifetime.

I don’t actually have any children at this time, nor do I plan to in the immediate future. I will someday though, so I accepted this request for review, especially since the subtitle says at any age. I can remember in school writing was a chore for me. I didn’t enjoy it, and I know I used to when I was younger. I remember having a journal where I’d write stories that popped into my mind. And when that one became full my mom gave me another to start in. Somewhere along the way though I lost my passion for it. I want to rekindle that passion. Not only for myself, but for the sake of any future children I have.
What I love about this book is that the prompts Pam Allyn suggests for getting your kid started is writing about what you see, what you feel, which is also a great way to become aware of the world around you. If we get children passionate about writing when they’re young, and being aware, they will grow up with that awareness and hopefully cherish it. They will see something and question why that is, and marvel at it. And then write about it. With awareness and literacy hand in hand, I think as children grow up, they would be less likely to take life for granted, because they’d have the skills they need to live life to it’s fullest.
She also talks about the importance of reading. I’ve heard it said by many people over the years that reading helps you write better, and that is absolutely true. With all of the writing tips she gives the reader in her book she also mentions picture books and chapter books that fit whatever idea she’s currently talking about. Examples for your child to see how poetry is written well, or humor. Anything. She also lists twenty books that are excellent at showing all the different writing styles there are, and how and why they work. And that while for writing there are some set rules, it’s also a creative outlet for your child to express themselves, however they want to. It allows them to think outside the box.
The last chapter is a wonderful resource for anytime you or your child has writer’s blocks. There are prompts about what to write when you’re lonely, where you think up an imaginary friend and write about him or her, about who that person is, what makes them that person. And almost all prompts also have an offering of books that talk about that topic in some way.
This book also got me thinking about traditional writing as well as writing with all the new technology we’ve gained even in just the last ten years. In the beginning I think you should definitely stick to traditional materials like paper and pens, pencils, crayons and markers like she says. And when the child is older add in the computer. Be careful though about how much time the child spends on the computer, because I know from personal experience that it is very easy for a younger child to get addicted to everything the computer and internet can offer, which can be a detriment to child’s development. Finding a balance between the mediums will allow him or her to get the best of both worlds.
This is definitely a book you’ll want in personal library if you have children, or are planning on having them soon. All of the ideas in this book can only help enrich their lives, help them appreciate everything around them, and like Pam says, keep your family close throughout the years, because you are actively helping your child in this process, instead of being a bystander.

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