Africa Kids Book Club

                                   WRITING SKILLS TIPS FOR KIDS

The first two sessions of the year have been quite interesting. Their activities centered around one of our four pillars- Reading & Writing (the other three pillars are Creativity, Public Speaking, and STEM).

Reading is a mandatory component of every session, and we’ve devoted the first half-year of 2024 to honing our writing skills. To this, each meet-up with the kids so far has included a writing activity and the use of vocabulary in sentence construction. We have practiced our writing both in English and Swahili.

Here are a few tips that we are unearthing as we learn to write better:

  • Writing is fun!

After the January session, the kids wrote about their experience at the Nairobi National Museum. This provided a great opportunity to recall the wonderful afternoon and relive all the fun activities. 

The sentences and essays oozed with creativity, because the kids only needed to close their eyes and bring their memories alive.

  • Proper punctuation makes everything better.

Imagine reading this bit without pausing to take a breath or stopping to take in the words as I go on and on about the benefits of writing and the ways to improve this invaluable skill taking it to the next level and pushing past the limit while at it isn’t it amazing to be a writer like Ngugi wa Thiong’o or Chinua Achebe Isn’t it amazing to think that our kids could one day write bestsellers and thought-provoking pieces and win the Commonwealth Short Story Prize and others … 

Breathless yet?  

Thankfully, learning to put fullstops, commas, and question marks makes reading and writing more delightful. Even more thankfully, we shall focus on punctuating our reading, writing, and speaking all year.

  • A little editing goes a long way.

Sometimes we are in such a hurry to finish writing that we forget to go over our work. It is at these times that one finds they wrote unfamos or exitment, or called their facilitator Miss Magret. 

Spelling is a consistent component of our review sessions, and the goal is to practice spelling new and old words orally and in writing. 

How can we transfer proper spelling into our work? 

  • By editing and editing again. Sometimes you know the words, you just rush through the paragraphs excitedly. Rereading slowly draws your attention to these errors.
  • The dictionary is a handy tool for checking vocabulary meaning, pronunciation, and spelling. When in doubt, look it up.

  • Technology is great, but it must not do all the work for us.

Tools like Microsoft Word and Google Docs have features that help create marvelous pieces of writing:

  • Autocorrect edits words and phrases. For example, I had to write exitement three times before the laptop let it stick.
  • Font and size options determine what the words will look like. I used calibri while writing this blog. What other fonts do you know?

Even though technology makes work better, we must be careful not to rely on its apps so much that we forget to work on our handwriting or spelling. A good writer would write beautifully, even if all they had was a blank wall and a piece of charcoal.

What other tips improve your writing skills? Let us know by leaving a comment.

Writer: Maggie Mungai

Volunteer Facilitator Bintumani Group

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