Learning to Write Right

Very few children learn to write adequately today, but it's a skill worth emphasizing at home.

The early development of my own writing career, which now includes more than twenty books, began when I was in elementary school.  My parents encouraged me and helped me grow in this area.  I remember writing a letter to a friend when I was nine years old.  My mother then sat down with me and suggested that we read it together.  I started the letter, "Dear Tom, how are you?  I am just fine."  My mom asked me if I thought that sounded a little boring.  She said, "You haven't said anything.  You used a few words, but they have no meaning."  I never wrote that phrase again, although that is the typical way a child begins a letter.

Looking back, I can see how, even at an early age, my mother was teaching me to write.  It's not terribly difficult or time-consuming to encourage and teach kids some of the fundamentals.  One approach is to ask a family member to correspond with your child and encourage him to write back.  Then when your child shows you his reply, sprinkle a few corrections, like my mother offered, with a generous portion of praise.  And then entice him to do a little creative expression.

It's also helpful to have a few English teachers who will invest themselves in a budding young writer.  I had one in high school and another in college who were determined to teach me grammar and composition.  They nearly beat me to death, but I earn a living today with the skills they gave me.  Especially, I would like to say thanks to Dr. Ed Harwood.  His classes were like marine boot camp, but what I learned there was priceless.

The ability to write has gone out of style--much like the old "homemaking" classes for girls.  But it is an incredibly valuable craft that your child can use in a wide variety of settings.  Don't let him grow up without developing it.


By Dr. James Dobson

Group Created with Sketch.