So you are at home and your child comes home with a writing assignment and you just want to scream and throw a tantrum, since you have no clue what to do. The task seems impossible for your child, because deep down you think, there is no way my child can pull this off. Your child senses your frustration and doubt and immediately acts on it. “If mommy or daddy believes this is too difficult for me to do, even though I know I can complete this writing piece, I will play the game. Sounds familiar?
Keep calm and read these tips…
1) Find Favorable Topics
It is always helpful to find out what your child likes to read/ do. This more than likely is what they will enjoy writing about. If your child finds a topic boring, this will definitely hinder them from wanting to write about that topic. Think about it, as adults we are given the opportunity to choose what we want to write about in most cases. Why wouldn’t we grant this same opportunity to our budding writers. Start a running list of favorable topics at home with your child and have them choose one each week. There are numerous writing activities that can go with this idea. Rather than limiting them to writing a story everyday, make it fun! You can have your child write of course a story or extended response one or two days to continue building stamina, then have them do a vocabulary writing activity, have them write a letter, have them write a menu, a poem, their opinion about the topic or a song. By doing this you are opening up a world of writing experiences for your child.
2) Choose Preferable Means/ Method of Writing
Choose the best means of writing for your child. Some children rather the good old-fashioned pen-to-paper, some rather typing it up on the computer/tablet, while some children rather speaking and recording what they want to express. Choosing the best method will spark much more writing. I for one, can attest to situations, where my students dislike writing. Upon noticing, I decided to allow them to use the computer to write, which changed their whole perspective on writing. It is very important to value prefered learning styles of our children in every situation and setting.
3) Use Model Sample Work
Find model sample work that is in the genre or area of writing your child likes. You can choose an author or a few authors who write about the same or similar topics/ ideas as your child enjoys. By doing so your child will be able to get first hand experience as to what quality writing looks like. They will be able to use these model samples as a reference for improvement. In addition, this can be very encouraging for your child to see published writers with similar tastes or likings.
4) Use Standard Measures to Gage Writing Progress
In schools students are accustomed to using standardized rubrics and checklists to guide them as they write. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary a rubric is a guide listing specific criteria for grading or scoring academic papers, projects, or tests. While checklists are tools used to guide students step by-by-step as they work towards an end product. By providing these tools, students are able to effectively work with an end goal in mind. Do not hesitate to ask teachers to provide you with information as to how to access these rubrics and checklists. When your child sees you pulling out the same tools they use in school they know you mean business. More importantly, it send a message that you care, as you made an extra effort to connect home with school.