Teach Your Child to Write Well

Written By: Mary M. Alward
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When American children head off to junior kindergarten, they must be ready to learn. It is your responsibility as a parent to prepare your child for school.

Parents should coach their children in the first steps of writing. This includes printing letters of the alphabet and numbers. This knowledge is necessary if you wish your child to be self-reliant, enjoy expressing himself and to excel in school. From the moment he enters the classroom, through middle school, secondary school and university, as well as throughout his adult career, writing is imperative to his success.

The Importance of Writing Well

There are a variety of reasons why being able to write well is necessary for your child’s success.

Career - Many careers are based on writing proposals, memos, reports, briefings, letters, articles and more. Most careers demand at least some writing skills. The better your child can write, the more successful he will be.

Writing is necessary for daily tasks such as writing grocery lists, reminder notes and instructions. Socially, we are required to write invitations, thank you notes and letters.

Writing keeps the mind stimulated and helps us to use our imagination. It helps us to provoke thoughts that might otherwise be overlooked. We can then organize these thoughts by writing them down.

Writing is therapeutic and can often bring peace to the soul. Why? Because many times humans can write out experiences and feelings that they are unable to talk about.

Many schools in America do not provide our children with sufficient writing instruction. Why? There are a variety of reasons. Teachers often do not possess the knowledge or training to teach advanced writing skills. Writing classes are often too large for teachers to properly assess and meet the needs of talented children and many do not have the skills to do so.

Research shows that students who lack writing skills also come up short in organizational skills, coherence and clarity. Very few students are capable of writing even passable business letters or persuasive essays. In fact, one in every four students has extreme difficulty writing while in elementary school. This trend continues through middle school, secondary school and college. Students admit that as they progress through school they are less inclined to like writing of any kind. Besides these points, many schools are allowing children with poor writing skills to use computers instead of teaching children proper writing skills and techniques.

The OERI (Office of Educational Research and Improvement) urges parents to assist young students in honing their writing skills. The OERI believe that parents can make a huge impact by using fun and simple writing strategies that will teach students to excel in writing and enjoy doing so.

What Parents Should Know

Writing isn’t just putting words on paper. It is a complicated and complex communication tool that begins with “thought.” Writing allows the author to communicate in a form that leaves no doubt to his meaning.

The very first form of communication that a child experiences is drawing. Encourage preschool and kindergarten children to use a wide variety of mediums to draw and then ask your child to talk about the drawing. Ask your child questions about his picture and encourage him to create a story about what he has drawn.

By the time children attend kindergarten, they have formed basic speech patterns. They should be able to identify letters of the alphabet and make an attempt at writing them. When a child attempts to write, show an interest and encourage him to continue to do his best. Give the child praise and support.

Requirements of Writing Well

In order to write well, a child must be able to think clearly. You may have to refresh his memory of an event to assist him in writing about his experience. Many children can create delightful and powerful stories in their heads, but they have trouble putting the words on paper. They need sufficient time to draft a rough copy, organize their thoughts and write them down before writing a final draft. Children often get low marks in story writing due to time constraints and short class periods. Ask you child’s teacher to allow the story to be completed as homework in order for your child to excel. Completing the story at home gives him more time to organize and write his thoughts out carefully.

Reading will stimulate a child’s imagination and help him to write better. Be sure to have a supply of good books on hand that are age appropriate. Reading great books will encourage your child to be a better writer.

Pique your child’s interest by telling him family stories or stories about your childhood. Make the stories fun and interesting. This will allow your child to compare your experience with his own and focus on things that occur within the family unit and at school.

Encourage your child to practice his writing skills. The old adage “practice makes perfect” fits the writing craft well. Professional writers write every day in order to hone their skills and keep them from deteriorating.

Teach your child how to edit and revise his writing. Stress the fact that his writing should “show - not tell.” This allows his writing to touch the emotions of the reader. Revision will also make his writing more clear and concise.

Tips for Parents

Provide a quiet, well-lit place with a desk or table where your child can hone his writing skills.

Supply your child with a journal, writing paper, pens and pencils. Be sure these supplies are never ending. If your child runs out of supplies, his interest will wane.

Give your child lots of time to think about what he’s going to write.

Talk and respond to your child when he expresses ideas. Never criticize harshly. Instead, give positive feedback. Praise your child when he writes well.

Never write your child’s story for him. He needs to feel ownership and take responsibility for meeting the deadline.

Writing Projects

Ask your child to write a letter to a relative or friend.

When you take your child on an outing, encourage him to take notes so he can write about it later.

Teach your child to brainstorm on a variety of subjects and come up with ideas for a story.

Encourage your child to keep a personal journal or diary, as well as a nature journal. This will teach him about different genres of writing.

Have your child keep a notebook of ideas. This allows him to go back later and quickly chose an idea for a story. It will greatly assist him in honing his writing skills.

Use the advice, information and tips in this article to assist your child in writing well. By learning to write well, he will be on the path to success, both in school and throughout his entire career.

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