The "Writing with the Younger Set" Tea with Julie series continues.
Tea with Julie

Welcome to "Tea with Julie," a weekly missive by me, Julie Bogart. My wish is to give you food for thought over a cup of tea to enhance your life as an educator, parent, and awesome adult. Glad you're here. Pinkies up!
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Cincinnati, September 25, 2021

Hi Friend,

More on jotting it down!

Catch your child in the act of narrating—expressing a thought, experience, or the content of, say, a movie.

When your child hits the white heat of language (you know it’s happening because he or she is animated and interrupting your phone call), you want to jot it down right then.

  • Stop driving, stir frying dinner, or chatting with Melinda.
  • Grab the back of an envelope or the random super market receipt.
  • Start writing, quick as a flash.
  • Get the words down as best you can.

If your child asks you what you’re doing, this is what you say:

“Keep going. This is so good, I want to get it down in your own words before I forget it. I want to share it with ________ (Dad, Mom, Grandma, sister, best friend…).”

Then later in the same day (maybe at dinner when the family is gathered), say this:

“Today Arthur told me all the details of Fellowship of the Rings. I was struck by how many parts of the movie I had forgotten! I want to read you what he said to me..."

Then read it. Enjoy it. Talk about the contents. Ask Arthur questions related to the movie (don’t talk about these words as writing). Then put the slip of paper away and eat dinner.

Make this a practice you return to again and again (not every day or even every other day, but when it’s worth it to capture in writing something meaningful your child says). You can even jot down the names of all the Lego men your child makes, or how your daughter explains the instructions to playing Wii bowling. These are also useful and important to write.

Eventually, children discover that:

  • What’s going on in their head IS what you want to see in writing.
  • Their thoughts are worthy of print and sharing.
  • Writing is an extension of themselves, not a foreign language or practice to be mastered.

If you keep it up, your kids will take over and do it for each other and you won’t even realize that they’ve picked up the habit until they greet you at the front door saying, “Mom, Mom, Caitrin wrote her first story.” Then your older daughter will hand you the carefully transcribed narrative that her younger sister told her at bedtime.

That’s how it works.





P.S. Catch up on all the “Tea with Julie” emails here!

Julie Bogart
© 2021 Brave Writer LLC™

Brave Writer




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