Friday, September 28, 2012

3Tips for helping your child improve writing- Guest Post

3 Tips for Helping your Child Improve her Writing

Of all skills that children learn while in school, there is probably not one skill more important to their future than written communication. Nearly all jobs require an ability to write well; some jobs in areas like public relations and journalism, demand it. If this is the case, then why do so few children leave high school, and even college, not knowing how to write skillfully? The simple answer is that teaching writing is difficult, and most teachers and professors are just too strapped for time and resources to teach every child the keys to good, quality writing. As a parent, however, there's much that you can do to help your child so that she learns how to write well. Here are a few basic tips:
  1. Teach your child to love reading.
The easiest way to learn how to write well is to not just read, but to read voraciously. Once you get your child hooked, there's no turning back. Of course, most children, especially in this modern, media-saturated age of screens and images, don't particularly enjoy reading or find it compelling. Start with books with a lot of pictures, encourage vocabulary building. Make sure to begin at the child's level, so that he doesn't experience frustration initially. Once your child has progressed, move according to the reading ability.

  1. Encourage your child to keep a diary or practice writing outside of school.
After reading, the most important step in developing good writing skills is to practice writing constantly. Of course, your child may get plenty of practice in school, but I've found that most schools seem to place a lesser emphasis on writing every day, even in literature classes. Worst of all, most kids don't really enjoy academic writing, at least initially. Encourage your child to practice writing through a medium she actually enjoys. Diaries are a good start. Even better, I often ask my children to write short essays about their experiences after we take family vacations or go on outings to a museum, theme park, etc. Another great and fun way to practice is to write together. Once, we involved the whole family in writing a play that we performed together, just for fun. Whatever you do, create situations in which your child can practice writing, no matter how mundane or everyday those situations are.

  1. Be vigilant when it comes to the rules of grammar and style.
Of course, practicing writing won't do you any good if you don't know the rules. I'm flabbergasted by how many high school students will begin college with only a vague idea of how words, sentences, and paragraphs work together to form cohesive ideas and arguments. Most of the writing exercises I have my children do outside of school, like the exercises mentioned above, we go over together and spot errors in grammar and syntax. We all suggest ways in which the style itself can be improved. Since text-speak and sloppy writing have predominated in the age of the Internet, emphasizing grammar has never been more important.
How have you helped your child improve her writing? Share in the comments below!
Leslie Johnson is a freelance writer and blogger whose primary writing focus is K-12 and higher education. She also enjoys giving advice to parents about their children's physical, intellectual, and emotional health.

1 comment:

  1. I think it is so important not to leave it all for school. Time spent at home writing will help children gain mastery.



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