A Simple Key to Teaching Children Writing Skills

Over the years, a common question I’m asked is how I started writing. While I didn’t have any aspirations to become a writer when I was young, my mom helped develop creative writing by a simple project she incorporated into my homeschooling English curriculum.

Starting in 6th grade, every week I wrote an elderly relative or friend. I needed to make one paragraph extremely descriptive—so descriptive the reader would feel like she was there. Those letters cultivated my creative spark. When I began the Moody Family Series, those years of letter writing helped me develop scenes.

No matter what your child does with writing in the future, this letter project will not only sharpen their skills, but it will bless others.

Since I know writing is an interest for some of our readers, I’d love to share some things on that topic. If you have specific questions you’d like me to address, please leave them in the comment box below, and I’ll see about using them in a separate blog post.


Sarah Maxwell
Ellie and me

“Finally, be ye all of one mind, having
compassion one of another, love as brethren,
be pitiful, be courteous.”

1 Peter 3:8

16 thoughts on “A Simple Key to Teaching Children Writing Skills”

  1. Sarah, our family has enjoyed the Moody books over the years (6 kiddos here).

    Writing is my absolute weakest area in our home school. I just don’t think like a writer.
    I like your mom’s idea of writing a letter and making one paragraph very descriptive. Can you give us an example? Would you be describing an event that happened or a place you visited? Did you have a model you followed after or rubric?

    I know reading good literature assists in one’s ability to write as well. We like to read Lamplighter and other Godly character building books.

    Also, did you hand write your letters or did you generate them on the computer? I can see the need to practice penmanship but can also see the need to develop keyboarding skills…maybe we should incorporate a little of both. (0:

    Thanks for sharing.


    Suzie L.

  2. Hi Sarah,

    I think it would be very educational (not to mention fascinating) for you to guide us blog readers through the process of writing a book. From the initial idea to the finished product, step-by-step.
    It really doesn’t need to be too detailed, as I am sure there are many steps to this process, but it would most certainly be very interesting and instructive for us all.

    I love your books and have suggested them to a number of my English students as reading materials.

    Many blessings,


  3. Hi there, I would love to hear more on writing! I’m 13 and I was wondering how old you were when you started writing books?

  4. What did you do when it was time to publish? Do you have any advice for publishing? Was publishing easy?

  5. That’s a great assignment, and I bet it was meaningful for the people who received the letters too 🙂 I write and edit primarily non-fiction, and aside from a few short pieces I’ve done in writing workshops I have no experience with fiction. “Crossing over” to that type of writing seems so overwhelming and different (but I’d also love to gain more experience with it). What are your tips for dealing with writer’s block? That’s definitely my biggest fear/frustration!

    1. Katie,

      Thanks for your comment. Yes, I think that cross-over is interesting. 🙂 Dealing with writer’s block is a great topic and one I’ve dealt with. More on that!

  6. what an interesting project for homeschool! thanks for the idea. I’ll be sure to incorporate that into my gals’ curriculum when they are of that age.

  7. I recall reading in I think it was Managers Of Your School that your Mom assigned these letter writing lessons to increase using descriptive words.
    Storm wrote, illustrated and published a book in both 3rd and 4th grades. Now in 7th she is working on a more advanced creative writing. I will be watching for more posts on editing as I am thinking this latest may be something we could continue to perfect and possibly some day have an income producing book.

    Still waiting for a new release from you as well Sarah.!


  8. I write letters in school I’m going through the understanding writing ciricullum. What is your process for writing a book?

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