Both of my children have recently discovered the communication tool that is outlook.com. At first, it was merely a vehicle to allow them to register on prezi (presentations are very sophisticated in our household, don’t you know?!), but then they discovered that they could actually send messages to people who would reply to them. Not only that, but they could add limitless emoticons (often line after line) to illustrate their carefully curated thoughts:
So far they have been emailing my friends and this is proving a perfect opportunity for them to develop their own unique writing styles. My approach has been to leave them to write as they wish and then check it at the end (and generally chortle to myself a little!).
Here are some of the clear stylistic features I have observed in the writing of my 9 and 7 year old:
1) She uses some strange expressions that she surely must have got from watching TV. For example:
2) She is also endlessly enthusiastic in her missives, with a liberal sprinkling of exclamation marks peppering every message and statements that read like the script from a motivational seminar:
3) She loves to add in interesting facts, often slightly from left-field:
‘I really love animals. My favourite is an owl. Owls can fly silently and there are lots of different types of owl like Barn Owl, Little Owl, Snowy Owl, Eagle Owl, Long eared owl and one with a pointy sharp beak but I can’t remember it’s name.’
Faith’s approach, at 7 years old, is one of pure stream of consciousness. She hits the keyboard and just writes the words that pop into her head. This makes for entertaining, if not always completely coherent, reading:
1) Ummm….say what? :
2) Not sure about the relevance of the illustrations here:
3) A perfect example of the rambling stream of consciousness :
‘I now have three folders at outlook.com even though I only just started it is really funny to me now at the moment. Have you been on outlook.com yet because I have. I haven’t seen you for a long long time yet. I would like to see you some day or week I would ask mummy now if I forget I will keep trying on and on so I will see you.’
And so what have I learnt from this exercise? Well I have learnt that my children have more original thoughts going round their heads than I give them credit for; that they are curious explorers of the world and that they enjoy the freedom of writing their thoughts with the words ‘flowing out like endless rain into a paper cup.’
What a great habit to begin: we may yet provide competition for the lyrical might of the Beatles!