Encourage Your Child to Write Biographies

Little girl writing a biography

Biographies are not only fun and interesting to read, but they can be fun and interesting to write too. Many gifted kids are already fans of biographies, loving to learn about famous scientists, musicians, and other famous and influential people. Biographies do more than just inform us about a person's life, too. They open windows to a new understanding of different periods of history and inspire us to be all that we can be.

If your child enjoys writing and history, encourage him or her to write a biography. Writing biographies can be even more fun and interesting that reading them. Not only does the writer need to learn about the person whose biography they want to write, but they also need to learn about the time in which that person lived. And that can help history come a live. It becomes so much more than dates and events.

Biographies can also be quite inspirational. Some people overcame great odds to be successful. These people offer lessons in perseverance in the face of adversity. Others rejected fame and success, choosing instead to humbly and quietly serve their fellow man. Some were inventors, some composers, some world leaders -- all of them in some way impacted our lives. Their stories can tell us so much about who we are as human beings.

Deciding who to write about

If your child has a favorite author or composer or scientist, that person would be a good person to write about.

But if your child isn't sure who to write about, a quick look through a list of famous people might provide some ideas. If your child has a special interest, such as art or science, she can look at lists of famous people who are divided into specific categories.

Another person a child can write about is a family member.

Children can write biographies of a parent, grandparent, aunt or uncle. This is a wonderful way for a child to learn about the lives of those who are important to him. A person doesn't need to be famous to have had an interesting life! All of us have had interesting experiences and our lives have influenced others, even if not on a grand scale. Biographies of family members are also great to share with other family members and to pass down from one generation to the next.

Gathering information

Once your child has decided on the subject of his biography, he can start gathering information. The first step, of course, is to learn about the person. If the person is famous, biographies most likely already exist, so that would be the place to start the learning process. But that's just the first step. Encourage your child to do more than what would be just a report of what has already been said. How? One way is to ask some questions about the person, questions like these from the From Now On Web site:

  • In what ways was the life remarkable?
  • In what ways was the life admirable?
  • Which quality or trait proved most troubling and difficult?
  • Which quality or trait was most beneficial?

If your child is writing about a family member, some of the same questions would apply, but some questions could be more personal since there is most likely no biography written about that person yet. Many questions that kids might ask in a family history interview can be asked of the family member or about the family member.

The second step is to gather background information. This is really just information about the times during which the person lived. History books about different time periods are good sources for this kind of information.

Doing more

This is enough to get your child started with biography writing. If she would like to do more, there is so much more to do.

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