Once kids begin combining letters to form words and can begin to form simple sentences the next challenge is to keep them motivated about writing. In my experience this is best done through authentic writing activities. Encourage them to engage in meaningful writing that has a purpose–and more importantly, a real audience. Knowing their writing will be read and has meaning to others is a great incentive to share their ideas on paper, and it’s even more fun when that audience provides feedback or writes back in some way.
Today I’m partnering with Disney Junior to share some ideas for authentic writing including the new Dear Sofia letter writing program. These activities are best for kids who are able to write simple sentences, but you can also record sentences that young writers dictate and allow them to draw an illustration to support their ideas. If you have a beginning writer who needs additional help getting ideas out on paper, then read these helpful tips for guiding kids through the writing process. Then you’ll be ready to give these activities a try. Read on for fun ways to engage kids in authentic writing, and see how you can get your very own letter back from Sofia the First.
21 Authentic Writing Ideas for Kids
Lists can be great first writing experiences for beginning writers because they do not require full sentences. Some examples include:
Wish lists for birthdays or holidays
Reading lists for books read or books a child would like to read
Goals for school, extracurricular activities, etc
Invitation lists for gatherings
Places to visit
Things observed at an event or place like the zoo or a park
Write About Experiences
Writing about an experience is another meaningful way to engage kids in writing. Writers can keep these creations for personal use or share with an audience like a friend, teacher, or family. Kids can:
Keep a nature discovery log.
Keep a journal.
Create a scrapbook or story about a vacation or special event.
Write a family play about a recent event attended.
Create a recipe book of foods your family likes to make together.
Write for Informational Purposes
Research and write about family history.
Write a persuasive paper to a local politician about something you would like changed in your community.
Write to an author about a favorite book.
Write to a musician about a favorite song.
Write a thank you letter to a community helper.
Draw and write comics.
Write to Keep in Touch
Write letters to friends. These can be friends in their current class or old buddies from preschool or former towns you’ve lived in.
Write a letter to family.
Write a letter to a character from a favorite show or movie. That’s what we did recently!
And you know what motivates kids to write even more? Getting a letter back! Read on to see how you can write your own letter to Sofia the First and get one back!
Write a Letter to Sofia the First!
Disney’s Dear Sofia program makes it so easy to get kids excited about writing and it’s very easy for parents. This quick video outlines the steps.
My girls loved Sofia’s introduction to the program.
They had so much fun choosing and decorating their own Sofia stationary to write on. Then we printed it.
After brainstorming what they would each write about, they wrote their letters and drew pictures. I placed the letters in envelopes (to be sure the addresses and names were legible), and the girls decorated the envelopes with stickers. Then we placed our letters in the mailbox. And the girls can’t wait to get their letters back from Sofia the First!
What ways do you encourage authentic writing experiences in the classroom or at home? What do you think your kids will enjoy most about writing a letter to Sofia–making the stationary, writing the letter, or getting their very own letter back?