Raising Writers: Drawings & Dictation

With the teaching I do & the ideas I employ, I thought I’d start a record of just some of it.

I’ll also use this part of my blog to communicate with parents, I suppose.


See? Kids are natural writers & artists. In the beginning, these two qualities are more integrated.

Ways to Get Your Child to Write


(The ol’ graphic novel trick)

Have you read any Captain Underpants? How ’bout Jeff Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid?

How about a more cerebral read, Persepolis?


There is a reason graphic novels are so beloved. Text accompanying pictures is a win.


I say, if we’re after bringing out our child’s voice & raising them up as a writer, we need to get them speaking, drawing, & writing. They’re not alone. Not at first, anyway. We’re with them. We are the encouraging art teacher, the art theapist, the stenographer. Finally, we are their reader, cheerleader, editor, & coach. But the point is, we support.

Do it: Draw situations and moments with your child—it could be a glimpse into a moment when he fell on his new scooter, or how she just tried Salisbury steak or uni for the first time. It could be an illustration recounting a strange experience they just had at the grocery store. Whatever the picture, it should carry fresh experience, even perhaps, emotion.

Here is Goodreads’ marvelous list of graphic novels for kids. 

You are building a bridge from the experience to the paper, using concrete materials and conversation.

You know what? You can use drawn pictures or photographs! The point is discussion & getting ideas & words down on paper.

They may have a spectacular picture of a new shiny bike, but if the their picture is not etched with a very recent shadowing of elation, surprise, pride, or a big scare, or even a fresh scar, this may not be the prime candidate of a picture prompts to use for dictation and writing. Follow excitement and emotion, though. Translation: Jog memories & record them!

Remember together, say, the time she went to Chuck E. Cheese for the first time (if this is fresh & recent).

Think–what  are the events you might journal if you were not much a writer? It would have to be something of weight, something of value, even if seemingly negative.


Proud rider on her 1st trip to school via scooter!

From sunny to snowy, inspire writing that spans the width of their energy & emotions. Remember gladness, remember hurting. Draw when frustrated; use writing & pictures to support one another for FULL  communication.


It would be fun to draw a recent snowfall. This was especially memorable, as two minutes after this photo was snapped, my daughter decided she didn’t need mittens & lame plastic baggies simply would not do. (We missed out on the proper time to buy waterproof gloves). Her little hands felt positively frostbitten. There is great material there for writing.

This is your child who may be the weak, shy, or presently, a non-writer. We build this writing bridge with excitement and great energy, focusing on the ideas and words that spring us to the next image and step.

Your job is to ask the questions, i.e. How did it feel when you fell off your bike and rolled onto gravel? What was it like being new in your karate class today? How did that chili pepper taste when you accidentally bit into Aunt Meg’s picante dish?

Help them stretch out their responses with more questions, if need be.

 Ie, “Think what it will DO for your art! Or, “Think how well we will be able to look back and remember and laugh at these memories together!”

We are showing them the power and fun of writing as it engages us. Writing makes moments last. Writing helps shy kids speak and busy kids focus on one powerful thing. It gives value to our children’s experiences.

Can I be selfish? Their pictures & writing will be treasure for me, too! Their experiences make lasting marks in us, too. Save the work, especially when it marks growth.

You’ll have lots to celebrate.


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