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Common conversation in our car:
“Turn right here.”
“No turn left right now.”
The word that is pronounced [rahyt] is not only a homograph, (same spelling, two different meanings), it is also a homophone, and can have more than one spelling (write, right, wright, rite).
If write is what you do when you put words on paper, then why isn’t the protection of those words called a copywrite, and why isn’t someone who writes a play called a playwrite? Something’s not
Speaking of writing, we home educators often go to two different extremes when it comes to writing instruction for our children. We either avoid writing altogether, or flop down a two-inch thick writing curriculum on the desk, which threatens to stifle all hope for creativity, inspiration, and natural love of story-telling.
Neither approach is recommended, because there’s more than one way to write right. Right?
The problem is that the homograph writing, has at least three different meanings (which should be treated as three distinct subjects taught in different grades for different students).
- Handwriting (the mechanics of holding the pencil and forming letters)
- Writing Syntax (rules for combining words to form sentences)
- Creative writing (using words to express thoughts, stories, and emotion)
Unfortunately most students get stuck on the first two forms of the homograph writing (which aren’t much fun) at the expense of creative writing, which is incredibly satisfying and fun!
So here are my three easy tips to teaching your child to write right!
- Surround your children with good literature as soon as possible by reading (and retelling) great stories. Creative writing is learned naturally and easily as children absorb vocabulary, literary analysis, story-telling, author voice, and literary style through great literature and creative expression.
- Assign a simple daily writing assignment based on the student’s motor skills and spelling and syntax capabilities. You might wait until fourth grade to make him write paragraphs, but allow her to dictate volumes to you in kindergarten. As long as he can write a simple essay on his own by middle school, he’s on track!
- Encourage creative writing without the writing! Let students dictate or tell a story orally, Eliminate the pain of writing from writing, and let them concentrate on the important elements of writing a story like suspense and character development and timing.
There is no one right way to teach writing, but it is a
right write wright rite of passage. No matter which way you turn, enjoy the ride! Take a deep breath, look both ways, and turn write! (And if you get too frustrated trying to follow the directions, sing Jesus Take The Wheel!)
Shari Popejoy has written eight books, and sponsors writing contests from her facebook page and gives online writing lessons at Injoyinc.com. She is a columnist and frequent contributor to Home Educating Family Magazine and writes encouragement for wives at Won Without Words. Sign up for her free Summer Writing Program at Injoy or stop by and visit her weekly creative writing tip, Wednesday Writers at her blog, Oh Joy.