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Make Writing Fun

According to a recent report, more than 70 percent of children fall below the national proficiency standard for writing  -- no surprise, in this grammatically challenged age of LOLs and BRBs. To encourage your tween's interest:

Provide plenty of page-turners. The more he's exposed to good writing, the better he'll write. If your child's not into books, buy him magazines  -- with their shorter, catchier stories, they can be a better way to plant the reading bug. Pick a title that fuels his passions, whether it's Popular Science or Entertainment Weekly.

Give him a cool journal or diary to write in. It's a great way for him to vent or blow off steam. Assure him you won't peek (and mean it). If that's too low-tech for your tween, encourage him to start a blog. Sites like Problogger will help you get him up and running safely.

Put his writing to good use. Enlist his help in composing invitations, thank-you notes, family letters, and birthday and holiday cards. It'll give him a sense of purpose-and an audience, which can make it more enticing to put pen to paper.

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