I remember about 3 years ago I was constantly worried that my daughter was not interested in writing. AT ALL. Yes she would write as part of an activity that we did but if I suggested just writing a paragraph, or putting one of her story ideas down onto paper she was just not interested. I really worried about this and then I made a decision to stop always pointing out every error that I spotted. It did not need to be perfect but I wanted her to start enjoying writing.
I eased up a lot and it seemed to work, she started writing more and more and I did not point out the errors but I listened to the stories and we spoke about what she had written. And the pages started turning into whole exercise books filled with her writing. I was thrilled.
So I applied the same logic with my younger son. But still he did not seem to want to write, partly because he struggles more with writing (the joints is his hand overextend so pencil grip is an issue for him) and partly because he battled to find things to write about. He is a very factual kid – he likes learning facts about animals or planets but then finds them a bit dry to write about.
So to get him started we turned to two of his favourite stories. The first one being The Day The Crayons Quit. He always loved this story so I dug it out again and we re-read it and without me even suggesting anything he started writing his own little notes from the crayons (The book is basically about some letters that the box of crayons write to the little boy complaining about how he uses them). And yes there were lots of mistakes in the letters but I did not correct him, we laughed about the crayons and he continued writing more notes, this time from the angle of the little boy answering the crayons original letters. He thought it was brilliant and he kept racing over to read them out to me.
So we tried the same thing but this time using the animal diaries that he loves as inspiration. He started with really a book of pictures that he drew of the animals and then just a few sentences about the animals. But he filled an entire exercise book. Again he made mistake and we did not make a big deal about them (a few of the mistakes he actually realized later and came and pointed them out to me).
But the exciting thing was that he was enjoying it, he really was enjoying the writing and I did not have to ask him to write he did it himself without prompts.
And the writing got longer and yes his spelling and grammar improved.
Now I must point out that for us this idea of not obsessing about the errors in their writing works well for a few reasons. My kids are both home educated so we don’t have the pressure of school tests, we can learn slower in certain areas we deem necessary and in other areas we can go ahead of the school curriculum. For me, I personally wanted the kids to enjoy reading and writing. That was important, something I wanted to focus on. Taking the pressure off by not having their writing corrected made a huge difference in their own enjoyment level which meant they now write a LOT (and bonus for me I never have to nag about writing). But we still work on spelling and grammar. It’s just we do that separate from their fun writing.