We always say how critical it is to read with your children if you want them to be readers. It is just as important to write with your children if you want them to be capable writers who enjoy writing.
I was tutoring Dustin, a 10-year-old boy, in reading. His mother would give him treats after the lesson as a reward for paying attention. One day I talked to Dustin and his mother. “Reading is its own reward,” I said. “When you are able to read Where the Red Fern Grows by yourself, Dustin, you will be so happy. I don’t want you to get any more treats for reading.” At Christmas he gave me a box of chocolates (with a few chocolates missing) accompanied by a handwritten note:
To Mrs. Goodman, Reading is its own reward. Dustin.
Writing is its own reward too. Something about writing connects us more intimately with our subjects. When we begin to look closely at scenes, people, or objects, they take on a new dimension and meaning. Writing about the people we meet takes the relationship to a deeper level. I have written about every book I have read for the last twenty years. I love the times when I decide to re-read my journal entries. Recalling books and people who have influenced my thoughts lets me revisit the stories that have impacted my life.
Thoughts are fleeting and difficult to capture – sometimes big ideas come in complete, beautiful sentences but if we don’t write them down immediately they are gone, never to be recaptured with the same clarity. Check out my article on Medium for more.