5 Top Areas to Help Your Child with Writing

March 08, 2018

Do you want to nurture a love of writing in your child? If you didn’t catch us on the radio, Good Morning Texas, or at one of our free community writing events, you missed some top expert advice on how to develop creative writing skills in your child and you may not have heard about our Young Writers’ Awards short story competition. So, just for you, we have the highlights here…


Included in this post you will find the best bits from:

  • Anna de Haro of iHeart Media interview with Polly Holyoke, Texas Blue Bonnet listed author of the Neptune Project and Belinda Southgate, Head of Community Outreach for Explore Horizons
  • Anna de Haro radio interview with author Tani Lamb and Explore Horizons Center Director Brittney Reyes
  • Writing focused panel discussion with Belinda Southgate, Tani Lamb, Brittney Reyes, and Peyton McCarron, Assistant Director for Explore Horizons


Hold your spot at our Garland center on March 8th at 6pm to meet some of these fearless educational leaders in our expert panel discussions and free creative writing workshops and check out their insights below!


How did you fall in love with writing?

Assistant Director Peyton McCarron: I didn’t really like writing when I was really young to be honest because I skipped 1st grade so it was hard to catch up on 2nd grade vocabulary, but then once I mastered that, I liked it because I could write about anything!

Center Director Brittney Reyes: I think most of my writing consisted of perfecting my handwriting and not actually writing stories. Reading was really hard for me as a kid, that’s why I was nervous about writing. It wasn’t until I got to college that I actually appreciated a nice essay!

Author and contest judge Tani Lamb: I wrote my first little novel at age 5. I wrote it on notebook paper and folded it up and stapled it and I took it to my mom. So that was my first attempt at being an author.


How do you cultivate fearless learning in kids?

Brittney Reyes: If they need to see a STAAR test, we always show them past ones so they don’t walk into a room and have never seen something like this before. Even the way our program works; it’s all mixed presentation so it enables them to think on the next question, “I don’t know what’s coming,” just like they would in a STAAR test.

Head of Community Outreach Belinda Southgate: We want to create an environment where children want to learn, they’re motivated, confident, and building those skills that are going to enrich them beyond the curriculum and the testing.


Do you have any advice for new writers?

Tani Lamb: Don’t be afraid, it’s only writing! Writing is your friend. Make sure you carry a little journal with you. Write often, write all the time, get down all of your thoughts in between classes and before you go to sleep. It takes time, don’t be afraid to make a mistake. You will have many, many drafts, your first draft is not your final. Just do it over and over and over until you get it right!

Award-winning author Polly Holyoke: We have our cell phones, we have our tablets, we have our TVs, and it’s not that those things are bad, but if you’re plugged into them all the time what you’re not doing is being creative. True creativity happens when you daydream, when you let your mind drift. It’s called “zoning out” or “spacing out.”


Can the fearless learning mentality actually change lives?

Belinda Southgate: Yesterday we had an online review from a parent saying that when their child started with Explore Horizons they were really behind, and they were under-confident. In the space of 5 or 6 months, they’ve gone to now being in AP classes. And that kind of thing happens every day and it’s so lovely to know that we’re making a genuine difference.

Belinda Southgate: A fearless learner is excited to take on a new challenge! They are excited about stretching themselves and reaching their full academic potential. They’re not just going to be confident test-takers, they’re also going to be confident at presentation skills, at debating, at essay writing.


What would you recommend to young authors to win the competition this year?

Polly Holyoke: They’re looking for a well imagined story with some great technical details to make it come alive. You have to build a world, and help me see myself in it.

Tani Lamb: I’m looking for creativity, imagination, not the typical heroes. I want to see interesting heroes – someone that you look up to.

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