Write Out Loud; Your Child is Listening
Growing up, every so often I heard my mom in the next room talking to herself while she was either writing a note or typing a paper. I was a sassy kid, and I would comment, “Mom, you’re doing it again! You’re talking to yourself!” And she was even sassier and would reply, “I’m trying to have an intelligent conversation. So, yes! I am talking to myself!”
And she would continue talking, and I could hear her work through some of her thoughts and considerations on how to construct an idea in writing, to express herself just the way she wanted. She was especially loud when she was looking for just the right word and pulled out our worn and torn Webster’s dictionary or Roget’s thesaurus.
Well, this actually had a huge impact on me. There are a plethora (learned that word from my mom) of decisions that we make as we write – word choice, evidence, sentence construct, and more. And thinking out loud about all the little decisions we make along the way as we write could actually help a younger writer who might be over-hearing us.
Children overhear a lot! And when you indirectly share your thinking process with them by simply saying your thoughts out loud as you compose a piece of writing, you are modeling for them a writing process.
The more exact name for this concept is metacognition, which, according to Webster’s dictionary, means awareness or analysis of one’s own learning or thinking processes.
Don’t worry if you consider yourself to be a good writer; you just need to be a little better than your child. Kids love to know what struggles you are encountering as you write, and how you overcome them. Do you have someone that you turn to as your ‘editor in chief?’ Maybe a sibling or a friend? This is all good information for your child to know and ponder.
Talking out loud about the things we write is one of the best ways to help our young writers! Give it a try!
Best wishes–Carrie and Emily