Title: Your Child’s Writing Life
Author: Pam Allyn
Publisher: Penguin Group USA
Release Date: 8/2/11
One of my goals as a parent, aside from the obvious of keeping my child from swallowing anything dangerous or becoming a criminal mastermind, is fostering a strong sense of creativity within him. I’m a writer, and I’ve always had a huge imagination. It’s allowed me to explore worlds within my mind that no one else has ever visited before, express myself more clearly, and of course, pay the bills. I want him to know what it’s like to be able to create something from little more than a few thoughts floating through his mind. As a highly imaginative child, he’s already halfway there. Now, I just need to help him learn to get it down on paper.
Your Child’s Writing Life by Pam Allyn is a great resource for helping with that second part. Allyn starts the book with a tearjerker story about a little girl who wrote about her dream for a birthday party (she’d never had one), and uses that to launch into an explanation of why your child needs a writing life. From there, she helps parents understand the benefits of encouraging children to write, and how to go about giving them the tools they need for success.
I love how this book is set up. Each section starts with an intro, followed by an easy-to-follow list, then more detailed information about the list. I am a huge fan of bullet points, especially when I’m trying to read while Jake is playing outside or otherwise distracting me. According to Allyn, your journey to encourage your child’s writing can begin the moment they come out of the womb and continue throughout early childhood, which makes this a great resource for both new parents and seasoned veterans. For each age, Allyn gives plenty of tips designed to foster reading and writing skills, along with suggestions on different books to read and activities to try.
After the age-by-age breakdown section, Allyn provides a huge selection of scenarios and writing prompts to help further develop creative thinking and break through writer’s block, such as “what to write when you want to change the world” and “what to write when you want to reach out.” I found these prompts helpful even as an adult. At about 220 pages, Your Child’s Writing Life manages to cram a lot of information into a package that isn’t too overwhelming. I highly recommend this to all parents, as an imagination is one of the most important things you can help give your child.