Agree with all advice so far. And relax about the topic sentence with a certain format too. As a teacher, I promise you that it is rapidly falling from grace, because it never equipped anyone to write in the real world anyway. Not for business, not for personal life, not for ANY reason! It truly is just for academic exams...and the assessment of those is changing rapidly.
Real writing automatically includes relevant information, and it doesn't follow just one format.
Message boards (whether for chat, game talk, book talk, sports talk—whatever!) are miraculous for getting children writing naturally out of personal desire...and that is the reason they develop good writers! If the child has lots of book and story experience, it tends to be pretty natural to being one day, when comfortable and the desire is there, to learn the niceties. And it will almost NEVER include a topic sentence with 3 supporting details. ;)
i teach struggling readers, and a few parents won't let me encourage their kids to write online. Those kids never learn as quickly as the ones who are allowed to be themselves and write as themselves. I don't criticize the parents, for it's not my place, but I do wonder why lessons on Skype are OK, but actual, real-life writing among a group of peers via the keyboard is NOT OK. ?? Ah well. To each his own.
I applaud you all who've written in support, and agree. A child with something to say will find a way to get it down on paper or on screen eventually. Just keep building that literate base, and I predict all will be well. (Or on freezer or chalkboard or...anything!)
Kids are ready to read at different ages. The same is true of writing. Before they're ready, you'll only get trite nothings anyway. But when they want to???
Whoa! Enoy! :)
who is far too chatty tonight! ;)