Sometimes it’s difficult to inspire reluctant writers to pick up a pen and paper. Raising kids who find joy in writing, even if they don’t become the next Shakespeare or Emily Dickinson, is important to me. Literacy is not just reading, it’s writing, too. Too often, writing seems like a chore, associated with worksheets and boring essays. One way I’m encouraging my kids to see writing as fun is with a writing box full of inspiring goodies.
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You may have noticed I’ve mentioned Jennifer Hallissy’s wonderful book The Write Start a few times (it inspired Kiddo’s ledger keeping and prompted our preschool journalling) and you may have assumed that I am being paid to promote this terrific book. It just so happens that I’m not, but if you don’t have a copy yet, you won’t regret picking one up! (Read my review here)
In her book, Hallissy suggests that each child have his own writing station, filled with all sorts of goodies to inspire creativity. Of course, a lovely desk at which Kiddo could work independently would be wonderful. However, that is not an option in our tiny apartment. I needed something that was small and could be tucked away when not in use.
I bought this lovely blue box but you could even use a large shoe box (let the kids decorate it!) or a small set of file drawers, even a roll away cart, if you have the space. I like the way this box stays open with a ribbon like an old-fashioned portable writing box.
I filled it with paper and pens, but added in some fun items. Hallissy suggests incorporating such things to encourage writing as an integral part of pretend play.
Here are a few of the items I included:
- A pencil case filled with different colored pencils and pens
- Alphabet stencil
- Different sizes of notebooks
- Blank check register
- To-Do list book
- Receipt book that uses carbon paper
With this writing book the kids can turn into detectives, landlords, bankers, shoppers, waiters, novelists, mathematicians, professors…. anything they want.
The variety of items you can add is endless. Take a walk around your local stationary store to see what inspires you.
I also like that Kiddo can keep his papers and drawings in the box instead of letting them float aimlessly all over the apartment. I have several other kinds of “surprise writing materials” which will magically appear at various times in the box such as rubber stamps, blank books, etc.