As a great-grandfather, I get a lot of enjoyment seeing our family grow, and most especially when the kids are having a tough time understanding the concept of a school lesson.

I remember being there in the same place, with the feelings of anxiety and a complete lack of confidence, because I wasn't grasping the concept of Algebra I.

I used to say that if you can speak, then you can write, because reading and writing support each other. I give an easy-to-remember formula to help inspire the creative process that shouldn't be rushed.

If they don't have a story in mind, ask them to tell you a story about a favorite family vacation, or suggest he write a "convince me" story and focus on what he has written rather than how it was written.

Once we've talked about the storyline, I ask that before he writes one word that he draws a picture that describes his story. I've found that drawing a picture and talking about it helps organize his thoughts. He's a very talented artist, by the way.

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Writing is a very important form of communication, but in today's technology-driven world, kids aren't given many opportunities to practice. Also, regular reading is a stepping stone to good writing. Think of the medical forms they'll need to fill out, or how to write a well-written resume, application or cover letter is the first task to getting a job.

Some kids love writing, some hate it, but we all need this incredibly important skill. To write well, you have to organize your thoughts, present your characters and location, and make the storyline and the conflict interesting. In the case of a "convince me letter," they have to explain their argument, and if the reader agrees, even better.

Teach them that writing harnesses all the different powers of the written word to improve their lives and change the world around them.

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