Homeschool Book Review: Your Child's Writing Life by Pam Allyn

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I'm teaching my kids to write this year. Admittedly, it's something I have often overlooked as a specific subject to teach. This year is going to be different.

I was inspired to make this change after reading Your Child's Writing Life by Pam Allyn.

Note: Originally this review was posted on Heart of the Matter Online, which is no longer online. I'm now reposting my review here for all of my wonderful Lavish Bookshelf readers. 

It’s back to school time and homeschooling parents everywhere are looking for the best ideas for teaching the fundamentals. After the algebra books are purchased and the science curriculum is organized however, I like to look back over some of those subjects I have often overlooked. Quite frequently I’m afraid I haven’t given a lot of thought to the art of writing. 
I know over the homeschooling years around here, I have had a tendency to lump writing in with the courses we were already studying. Essays in history and reading journals have actually constituted the bulk of our writing assignments. 
This year will be different and writing is going to be a specific subject we will study. I was prompted to change my approach to teaching writing after reading Your Child’s Writing Life: How to Inspire Confidence, Creativity and Skill at Every Age by Pam Allyn. 
As an educator and executive director of literacy organizations, Pam Allyn has created a blueprint in Your Child’s Writing Life that parents can use for understanding that writing is actually a very important discipline.First thing in this book, Allyn explains why writing is such an important life skill. Learning to write, even as a young child, teaches your child stamina, creativity, fluency, phonemic awareness and organization. 
In order to become a great writer, parents can do many things to help prepare their child. Allyn refers to these points as the Five Keys, an acronym she calls WRITE. This stands for Word Power, Ritual, Independence, Time and Environment and Allyn explains in great detail how parents can implement each of these Five Keys. 
Your Child’s Writing Life is centered on the idea of starting a love of writing very early in children. She even gives educational hints for children age Birth to Two years old! This book is geared towards teaching writing to elementary children. Using Allyn’s approach, by the time a child is a teen, the love of writing should be strong. In fact, not much is actually mentioned at all in this book regarding teaching writing to a teen that hates to write already. 
My favorite chapter in this book was actually the most helpful around my house. It’s the chapter titled “The Writing Doctor is in the House: Solving the Problems of Tears, Frustration and Resistance When It’s Time to Write.” Oh yeah, the hints in this chapter are important and helpful, both for kids and frustrated homeschooling parents. 
This book includes many suggested books that children can read to ignite their imaginations and encourage a love of words. Again, however, this list is geared towards elementary aged kids and doesn’t focus on what great books a teen might read for writing inspiration. 
Finally, this book contains some great writing prompts that truly are geared for all ages, including those aged 12 and up! The variety of prompts is very helpful and backed by some suggested reading books to show examples of the different writing styles. 
Take time this school year to focus on writing as a fine art all its own. Books like Your Child’s Writing Life can help make the task a bit less daunting. After reading this book I can truly see the importance of learning to write. And that’s something I want my kids to learn, too.

Book Info: 
  • Pages:  240
  • Year originally published:  2011

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