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Help Your Child Build Writing Skills

posted Apr 17, 2013, 10:59 AM by Pilinda Rose Dominguez
Parents can help by encouraging their children to embrace the concept of revision. Through reviewing and revising, kids will soon see their writing improve.
Sandwiched somewhere between reading for meaning and tackling math problems, kids are expected to write. A lot. They’re writing stories, persuasive papers, letters, PowerPoint presentations, and content for their own websites.

And yet, for all the writing kids do, many struggle to come up with words to put on paper. Students in upper elementary, middle, and high school may be especially reluctant because they are self-conscious about their writing or think they have nothing of value to say.

Let your child know that every occupation requires writing. Doctors write. Artists write. Athletes write. Look for examples everywhere you go of people writing as part of their professional lives. Encourage adults in your child’s life to point out examples of writing and revision.

Encourage your child to write letters. Not the electronic kind but old-school, handwritten letters. Whether she writes to a grandparent or a pen pal in another state or country, she’ll gain valuable practice expressing herself through words. 

Show your child how writing can help him work through problems and find a solution. If something is bothering him, have him write about it. Or if your family is having a problem, such as feeling overscheduled or not being able to stick to a budget, have your child write down potential solutions.

Help your child tackle math problems with writing. Sometimes writing a paragraph about how you plan to solve an equation can help. Really! 

Read your child’s writing and comment on it. Take time to praise your child’s writing, even if it’s a routine assignment that comes home in the backpack. 

It’s common for parents to defer to teachers on writing if they don’t feel confident themselves. But anyone can be a writing coach, just by encouraging a child to keep at it. The more we can be positive, showing an interest and offering to read a child’s writing, the more comfortable the child will be. Parents can help their child edit and think through ideas. It’s all about being a motivator.