Are you looking for ways to make teaching writing easier? I know I am. I run a “writing club” for my two boys and niece, and traditional writing makes all three of them cry. True story.
So, I’ve resorted to finding other ways to teach writing. Since I teach the writing club, I spend a lot of time mulling over this concept. I brainstorm and look for ways to make the writing process less painful. I surprised myself with the tip I will share today. It’s SO sneaky that I didn’t realize I was teaching writing!
What’s my sneaky secret? Audio books.
I know. I know. I should have realized it. After all, one of the reasons for doing a read aloud time is to strengthen a child’s language skills. When my seven year-old son started mimicking Donald J. Sobol’s (Encycolpedia Brown) similes while narrating his imaginary play, the light bulb turned on in my head. They were learning writing from listening!
Obviously listening to an audio book isn’t a traditional writing class. However, this is as close to teaching by osmosis as you can get. You may notice your child talking with more imagery or longer sentences. That will eventually affect his writing. Later when discussing various aspects of writing in class, you can use examples from the books you’ve heard together.
What writing skills do your kids learn from audio books?
- Sentence style –The variety of sentences your student hears will enhance his conversational and writing skills.
- Imagery — This is one of my favorite benefits. Even if your child uses the exact same words in her play or writing, she is modeling quality writing. After hearing an abundance of good similes, metaphors, and other types of imagery, it will be easier to teach the subject.
- Characterization — If you really want to get into characterization, find a series as an audio book. Then you can follow the characters and see how the author carries their behavior through to each book. Nate the Great is an easy example of this.
- Foreshadowing — When you’re listening together, you can point out hints to what may be coming.
- Full circle — Do things come “back around” and end up at the same place as the beginning, perhaps on a better level?
- Word play — Your child may notice things like onomatopoeia and alliteration more when he can hear it and is not worried about actually reading the words. He can also notice the rhythm of combining words and appreciate words authors create.
If you’d like some ideas for free audio books, here’s a Facebook post from All About Learning Press that discusses resources.
Want more ideas for alternative methods to teach writing?
I have a new series starting tomorrow, “Teaching Writing Without Writing”. Head over to my blog and subscribe so you don’t miss out!