Lists

Writing wears kids out, have you noticed? They may get that burst of linguistic energy working for them (when the inspiration strikes, they’re hard to stop!), but when they’re done, they’re done. Sometimes after a successful writing project, all anyone wants to do is lie about doing nothing.

While taking some time off, or while your kids aren’t quite proficient enough to write lengthy passages of prose, you might try writing lists. Lists can be an incredibly therapeutic way to interact with language. For one thing, there is no shortage of topics for lists. Let me give you a quick list (ha!) of what you can list:

  • birds
  • roller coasters
  • Lego sets
  • favorite lines of poetry
  • seeds to plant in the garden
  • items to purchase for a bedroom redesign
  • hairstyles to try
  • funny jokes
  • not-so-funny jokes
  • words that rhyme with…
  • famous lines of Shakespeare
  • the original old English vocabulary in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales (with translations)
  • items in a junk drawer
  • all the vocabulary needed to sew a quilt
  • favorite TV shows
  • past American Idol contestants and when they were voted off
  • types of tanks used in WWII
  • American Girl trousseau items

As you can see, there is no limit to what can be listed! Lists allow your kids to continue to work on handwriting, vocabulary development, categorizing, ordering, and information gathering. They also offer a place to house disparate thoughts or ideas or fantasies. It’s nice to keep a list of all the things you’d buy if you had $100.00. Cheaper than spending the dough-re-mi!

Lists can be kept in notebooks, on white boards, on sheets of paper. My daughter kept a list on her bedroom wall (all the friends she had and something funny about them). Lists often mushroom into sub categories too: birds in my backyard, birds I saw on vacation in Florida, birds I saw at the zoo, birds that live at the beach.

So get out a notepad and start a list. Tell me what you’re listing in the comments. (P.S. I love the little moleskin notebooks that fit inside a purse for listing, jotting down words, keeping my thoughts together so that anywhere I am, I can write them down. Your kids might like that too – a portable list!)

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