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Tip of the Day for Parents…The Writing is on the Wall

or on a simple notecard…

I will be the first to admit that I’m a writer a heart.  If there is an excuse to write, I’ll take it.  As a former middle school Language Arts teacher, I also field frequent questions from parents regarding how they can get their child excited about writing.  I have long contended that the ability to write well is not just a natural gift.  It is a craft that takes time, dedication & patience. When I was writing my book, I distinctly remember bouts of serious writer’s block where I grappled with scrapping the project all together.  Along with the encouragement of my co-writers, it was the discipline I had developed through years of consistent writing that propelled me through the rough patches.

Many of you may be wondering what I’ve been writing about all these years.  It’s only recently that my book was released, that I began writing for publications and that I began my own blog.  The one consistent piece I’ve been writing throughout the years, however, has been thank you notes/gratitude letters.  And, I truly believe engaging in the creation of both will help your child become a better, more impassioned writer.

Thank you notes/gratitude letters accomplish the following:

  1. They allow children to practice the craft/art of writing on a small scale (i.e. short).  This gives them opportunities to write without the pressure of creating the next Moby Dick.
  2. They allow children to write about something important, relevant and usually something children like and/or appreciate (gifts, money, a great time at an event, etc.).
  3. They allow children to write in a low-stakes environment.  Everyone loves to receive a thank you note or gratitude letter.  The child almost always comes out looking good after sending a note of appreciation or gratitude.
  4. They allow parents to see how children write on the fly and in a somewhat unscripted atmosphere.  This can allow parents to assess a child’s strengths and weaknesses as a writer. (spelling skills, creative vocabulary, general creativity).
  5. They allow children to think about the kindness of others and learn to appreciate gifts on a greater level.
  6. Thank you notes/gratitude letters are a form of “paying it forward” and leave a smile on the recipient’s face.
  7. Practice, practice and practice makes perfect.  The more one practices her craft, the better she becomes at it.

While I’m in the midst of admitting things, I will also admit that writing thank you notes and gratitude letters makes me feel great.  I know people enjoy receiving something in the mail (NOT email) that recognizes their kindness, generosity, etc.  I write notes to people on pretty much a daily basis.  It is part of my writing ritual and supports my overall emotional health.  I didn’t always enjoy the craft, but through practice and witnessing the reaction of some who have received my pieces of written correspondence, I have grown to love and look forward to writing thank you notes and gratitude letters.  In fact, I’m bubbling with excitement now knowing that my next writing assignment is a thank you note, and it’s going to be a doozy!

Happy Writing!





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