Your Child's Writing Life: How to Inspire Confidence, Creativity, and Skill at Every Age


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 ...

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Your Child's Writing Life: How to Inspire Confidence, Creativity, and Skill at Every Age

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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.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Executive director of LitLife and LitWorld and author (What to Read When), Allyn asserts that writing fosters children's emotional growth, helps them develop critical thinking skills, and guarantees improved academic achievement. In this book she helps parents understand why writing is so critical and how they can guide their children through the writing process. Allyn explains that children are naturally drawn to the power of words and stories. Walking readers through the developmental stages of a child's writing life, she provides plenty of ideas for nourishing a child's writing, with activities for each age and stage from birth to 12 (ranging from reading aloud and imaginative play to keeping a writer's notebook or writing a flip camera movie script). Writing, the author says, gives kids a voice, provides an outlet for thoughts and feelings, and offers a form of sanctuary. Allyn emphasizes the parent's role as a guide in a child's growth as both reader and writer, noting that the early childhood years are crucial for literacy development. She also includes a useful chapter on books that inspire writing, as well as a chapter called "What to Write When" with prompts and techniques for curing writer's block. (Aug.)
Kirkus Reviews

A refreshingly novel parenting method for teaching children not just to read but to write well and love doing it.

Helicopter parents take note: Mother and author Allyn (Pam Allyn's Best Books for Boys, 2011, etc.), executive director of LitLife and LitWorld, sets forth a rigorous and, she argues, foolproof strategy for giving a child priceless gifts based on the stage-by-stage cultivation of top-level writing skills. These gifts include a reverence for words, a higher probability of academic success and a leg up negotiating adulthood. For parents, all it takes is time in abundance and years of highly focused effort. Start with plenty of storytelling and songs for newborns to 2-year-olds before moving on to shape-and-bake alphabet pretzels. Later, there's a designated "writer's corner" to which the young author can withdraw to muse privately or find his or her writing voice. Fifty remedies for writer's block help make the words flow. Age-appropriate book lists (don't look for classics) inspire children and parents along the way. Allyn argues convincingly that to make it all work, parents must be tireless writing advocates intent on forging a writing bond with their children—and the sooner, the better. She exhorts parents to understand that being well read and able to express opinions and feelings in writing is the bedrock of a good education, and is essential to self-discovery.

All highly laudatory, but it's debatable whether parents will have the time and the will to execute the myriad steps in the program.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781583334393
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 8/2/2011
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 426,917
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Pam Allyn

Pam Allyn is the executive director of the literacy organizations LitLife and LitWorld, and has received the Disney Points of Light Foundation award among others. She is the author of What to Read When. She lives in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Why Your Child Needs a Writing Life 1

1 New Dimensions for Parenting: Cherishing Your Child's Writing Life 19

2 The Five Keys: Setting the Stage for Forever Writers 34

3 The Writer's Ladder: Cultivating Your Child's Writing Life at Every Age 59

4 The Writing Doctor Is in the House: Solving the Problems of Tears, Frustration and Resistance When It's Time to Write 111

5 Grand Mentors: Twenty Great Books to Inspire Great Writing 129

6 What to Write When: Fifty Remedies to Cure Writer's Block 156

Closing Thoughts: From Purple Crayon to Instant Message 213

Index 219

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 8, 2011

    Full of Inspiration

    Every parent wants their child to be successful and happy. Reading and writing are essential to success in school and beyond. How can we as parents help our children to not only become good writers but to love it also? These are some of the issues that this book addresses. This book is written in a clear style with many easy to understand concepts to help your child grow in writing through all ages. Starting with scribbles as a toddler, helpful ideas are given to recognize different developmental stages in writing. Ways to make writing fun and rewarding for children are also included.

    I found myself brimming with ideas after reading this book. The parts I found most helpful were the lists of books to cater to each developmental stage and the different prompts given. There were so many amazing ways to include writing in your everyday life. This can keep kids interested and help them see how important good writing skills are. I also love that the author embraces new technologies in helping kids learn to love writing. While it is important to learn to write letters and such, technology can help increase writing skills too. We would do well as parents to allow our children to discover what's comfortable for them.

    I think that parents and even teachers could stand to learn a lot from this book. There are so many great ideas to not only help your child, but also to help you get involved in your child's writing. From whimsical fairy tales to serious essays, ideas to help children with expressing these thoughts are all covered in this book. I hope that I can take what I learned and help my child to become a confident writer as he grows.

    Galley provided by publisher for review.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 23, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    A Mom's Choice Award Recipient!

    Your Child's Writing Life is a recipient of the prestigious Mom's Choice Award. The Mom’s Choice Awards honors excellence in family-friendly media, products and services. An esteemed panel of judges includes education, media and other experts as well as parents, children, librarians, performing artists, producers, medical and business professionals, authors, scientists and others. A sampling of the panel members includes: Dr. Twila C. Liggett, ten-time Emmy-winner, professor and founder of PBS’s Reading Rainbow; Julie Aigner-Clark, Creator of Baby Einstein and The Safe Side Project; Jodee Blanco, New York Times best-selling Author and; LeAnn Thieman, motivational speaker and coauthor of seven Chicken Soup For The Soul books. Parents and educators look for the Mom’s Choice Awards seal in selecting quality materials and products for children and families.

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  • Posted August 23, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Great guide for parents of any child

    This was an excellent book written to encourage parents to help develop their child's inner writer, with tips for every age from birth on up. It is very accessible, even to parents who don't feel they themselves know much about writing or children's educational development. Allyn gives a timeline for children from the first year on, explaining what writing-related activities children can and should do (stressing throughout, though, that every child is different and that these are just guidelines--readers shouldn't panic if their children aren't there yet) and how parents can help their children's development as writers, including recommended activities and books for each stage. In fact, nearly every section offers a selection of books that parents can read with their children to encourage their development as writers. One thing that Allyn stresses over and over--with good reason, I thought--is the idea that parents must be supportive and patient with their children's writing efforts. She points out that early crawling, walking, and speaking attempts are applauded, but when it comes to writing the same understanding is often missing--children are told that their early scribbles "aren't writing" and often incorrect spelling, grammar, and usage are focused on rather than the achievement of the story and its ideas. She really draws a parallel between all these achievements, showing how a baby's babbling and a toddler's scribbling are equally valid steps in his or her development and should be encouraged. Later chapters give dozens of ideas for encouraging young writers, from suggestions on how to take advantage of different situations (such as "what to write when you are musical" and "what to write when you are nosy") to suggestions on how to help children write for school assignments (without writing it for them, alleluia!). Definitely a keeper.

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