Book Review: Your Child’s Writing Life

“Words are postage stamps…delivering the object for you to unwrap.” ~ George Bernard Shaw

I love Pam Allyn’s books because they are tremendous resources. Ones you want to put on your shelf and refer to over time. But they are also crammed full of practical tips. In this case, Pam’s newest book, Your Child’s Writing Life, delivers on ways to “inspire a love of words and instill lasting confidence and creativity.”

There are so many things we, as parents, can do to help our children develop a love of writing. Sure, we can send them to writing camps, buy skill-developing books and equip them with expensive writing paper and pens. But the point is – we don’t have to. In fact, the best ways don’t cost a lot of money.  The keys are really exposure, practice and consistency.

Allyn splatters creative suggestions all across her book. Some of my favorites included:

  • Create a word jar. Every time your child sees a neat word, cut it out and put it in the jar. At the end of the week, pull out the words and look through them together.
  • Encourage all of your child’s storytelling and writing attempts. And don’t stress out over spelling and punctuation errors. In this regard, Allyn is as much a parenting advice columnist as writing expert.
  • Retell the stories of your child’s special moments in time – first steps, first holidays, family vacations.
  • Imagine together.
  • Notice things together. The bird in the tree…the crack on the sidewalk…the lady at the airport.
  • Read. Read. And then read some more.
  • Set up a cozy writing corner with your child. It can be at a desk, on the couch or on the floor. What’s in that corner will depend on your child’s age, but should reflect her passion, include some paper, paper, something to write or color with, books. Just make sure your child creates this corner with you.
  • Play with online sources like ePals and

Opposite her earlier book, Best Books for Boys, which was really written more for teachers, Your Child’s Writing Life is written for parents. However, I think it’s filled with good advice for teachers. In the back chapters of the book, she includes great suggestions for story starters, overcoming writer’s block, suggestions on great books to read to inspire good writing and even a breakdown of how to cultivate strong writers by age (including a resource list of books by age).

Published by Penguin Group USA, just released this month, the book is available at Amazon, in retail stores including Barnes & Noble, and in online stores.

Disclosure: Penguin Group USA provided a copy of Your Child’s Writing Life via NetGalley for me to read and review. However my opinion is 100 percent my own.

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