“That’s not how we say that,” I said to my third grade public school student about his essay. You see, I wasn’t sure how to explain to an eight year old, that really didn’t know how to express himself, how he could improve his writing.
It wasn’t until I had experience teaching 5th/6th grade writing composition that I realized children around 11-12 years old will learn composition within a few months versus the years it will take them to learn composition when they are young.
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So then the question I began to ask was, why teach composition to young children when it will take them years to finally “get it”? It didn’t make sense to me while teaching in public and private school settings, and this applies in homeschooling settings as well.
So what do we do until then? Read below!
How to teach your young Muslim child composition writing, before teaching writing
When we talk about how to teach writing, we mean both the mechanics of physically putting pencil to paper as well as the mental process of expressing what we want to say in words. In this blog post I am going to focus on the later – writing composition.
With most young children, instead of teaching them composition, we can ask ourselves what we can do to help them develop a natural ability to write. We should try do a variety of things that will help improve their communication skills.
12 Tips to help your Muslim child develop a natural ability to write
Tip #1 – Read aloud to your child
To write well, our children have to know how to say things and have things to say. Can you guess my favorite way to do this? Reading aloud.
By hearing you read books aloud, your child will begin to understand language patterns. Don’t expect them to write if they haven’t heard writing before!
Reading aloud has many benefits and is my favorite way to teach kids writing, but there are many other ways to teach writing, before writing.
Don’t have time to read-aloud to your child right now? No problem! Have them tune in to Auntie Turns the Page, where I read-aloud Islamic children’s literature as well as other children’s literature.
Tip #2 – Encourage silent reading
Silent Reading is a reading skill which allows one to read without voicing the words. This isn’t the only form of reading that should happen in your home.
Reading Aloud to your child is still necessary for children who can read on their own.
I allow my children to pick their own silent reading books (after I’ve flipped through to make sure the book doesn’t contain shirk and haraam concepts). Try to guide your child to constantly explore a greater range of books and longer texts as they age, so that they can become a more fluent reader and learn to read, define, and pronounce complex words.
Tip #3 – Listen to audio books
Audio books are especially helpful for when you don’t read English well, but want your child to be exposed to English children’s literature.
And not to mention that audio-books are a great free babysitter for when you’re ill or busy and can’t read aloud to your child. You can find free audio books at your library or you can search on Amazon Audible.
Tip #4 – Conduct Quran and Hadith memory work
Memory work is just that – memorizing specific assigned work. You can conduct memory work with any subject, but guess what? – You’re probably already doing it if your child is memorizing Quran!
I’ve created simple open and go Memory work pages for our Morning Time and I’m happy to share them with you. You can grab them here.
Tip #5 – Read and memorize poetry
Listening to and reading poetry helps children become creative writers. Reading poetry in a group setting, such as Morning Basket Time will help your homeschooled child become better at discussing and sharing ideas with others.
Feel free to use the Poetry Inserts that I’ve created for my children!
Tip #6 – Assign Copywork
Copywork is the process by which a student hand writes an exact copy of a selection from a well-written work.
Copywork is great with Quran and Hadith as well, especially if you want your child to memorize it. You can google ready-made copywork sheets on all topics.
I’ve created Islamic studies copywork for our Morning Basket Time. Grab them here.
Tip #7 – Purchase various writing supplies
Many children are inspired to write on their own if you allow them to choose their own writing supplies, such as journals, paper, pens, pencils, etc. Your child will be more willing to write when you allow easy access to the writing supplies as well.
Tip #8 – Try Junk Journaling
I have a child that wasn’t into writing until…
enter junk journaling.
A Junk Journal is a book which is often made with recycled materials to be used as a way to collect and record memories, thoughts, ideas, and inspiration.
Junk Journaling will allow your child to feel motivated to write on something that he has created.
Tip #9 – Be a good role model
Are you writing in front of your child? It doesn’t have to be with pen and paper, you can use a desktop and explain that you are writing by typing your words.
Just as we want to model reading to our children, we must also model writing for long term benefits.
Tip #10 – Want a tool that brings all of the above together? Enter Notebooking.
Notebooking is a tool used to compile and organize the written thoughts, opinions, discoveries, and experiences of your child. Notebooking for homeschoolers is akin to educational journaling.
Would you like some help with notebooking? Type your email in the box below to receive this information soon, plus get a small gift from me.
Tip #11 – Participate in National Letter Writing Month by finding a pen pal for your child
What is a Pen Pal? A pen pal is a person you come to know by frequent friendly correspondence. You can find international pen pals here.
Writing to a pen pal will be a memory that your child will never forget, inshAllah. I still remember my pen pal from 6th grade!
In addition to filling our children up with good language, we must also guard against their exposure to poor language. The more they are exposed to text lingo or the more they are exposed to twaddle, for example, the less readily they will receive quality language.
trivial or foolish speech or writing; nonsenseOxford
Twaddle as described by Charlotte Mason –
Twaddle is when the literature is – talking down to a child; diluted; undervaluing the intelligence of a child; stale
Let’s just call ‘twaddle’ junk food. It lures the child visually and offers nothing of value to the child mentally.
The last thing you need to know about teaching writing composition to young homeschooled children
Focus on what helps your child get ideas for writing. Allow your child to explore his world. An interesting child has interesting things to say and eventually…write!
This will be a series blog post. Comment below if you’d like to see a writing curriculum review.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the steps to teach kids writing composition?
The four steps of the writing process are: prewriting, writing, revising, and proofreading. Prewriting – Whatever type of writing your child is attempting, the prewriting stage is one of the most important stages. This is when children gather information through the ways mentioned in this blog post, and then learn to organize the information.
What are ways to help my child’s writing skills, once they’re at that stage?
There are various ways to help your older child improve his writing skills, such as:
- Keep writing supplies on hand.
- Encourage journal writing. Let your child pick out their journal supplies.
- Get a penpal for your child.
My child is old enough to learn writing composition. What is the best homeschool writing curriculum for older children?
Easy – the one you’ll use! (That is my answer for every curriculum question. :0) )
Here are a few of my favorites, but you’ll have to try them out to see what suits your family.
Our favorite writing curriculum. – Homeschool Curriculum REVIEW
Our favorite grammar curriculum – Homeschool Curriculum REVIEW
New to homeschooling? Read the Beginner’s Guide to Homeschooling for Muslim Families and watch my Muslim Homeschooling Videos!