In my family, there are so many families that homeschool that the older cousins have a book club. They each read certain chapters of the assigned book, then one of the moms thinks of two writing prompts that relate to the book. Each child chooses a writing prompt and writes a response. Then, they meet weekly via skype and share their writing with each other.
Well, my oldest daughter in the first grade started loosing motivation in her daily writing journal. I wanted her to not only be more motivated in writing, but improve in her writing skills. I talked with my sisters and we decided to make a younger book club. So far, we have read Charlotte's Web, Little House in the Big Woods and Beezus and Ramona. The cousins get to see each other on skype and share their writing. After each child reads, the others comment on what they liked about it. It takes about 15-30 minutes. I found a great site called Edhelper.com. It has books for each grade level with review questions and writing prompts for each chapter from the books. Here is the link! It makes it so easy to come up with writing prompts!
Here is an example of a writing prompt for younger grades for Charlotte's web:
1. What do you like to do in the summertime? Do you like to do some of the things they do in the book?
2. Wilbur wanted to spin a web like Charlotte. Have you ever wanted to do something, but when you tried, you couldn't? How did you feel?
I have already seen an improvement in my daughter's writing. She will say things like, "Oooh, I'm going to write this like "Jen" does." or "I wrote what color my shirt was like "Amelia" does." I highly recommend doing a skype writing club not only because it will improve their writing, but they will get to see their "cousins" more often.