These tips will help any parent improve their children’s writing:
1. Make sure your child’s grammatical skills are up to par. There are many resources to help children improve their grammar, depending on their grade level. Talk with your child’s teacher or contact me for more information.
2. Have your child keep a personal journal. Often, children have a lot to say, but they don’t write down what’s on their mind. Encourage your child to keep a daily or weekly journal about everything from the most mundane daily details (what she/he had for lunch) to the most meaningful (a fight with a friend, a class trip).
3. Encourage your child to use his/her five senses. Kids often draw a blank when a teacher tells them to describe a person, place or thing. Asking, “What does it look like? Sound like? Feel like? Smell like? Taste like?” will help clear up that confusion and lead to richer, more detailed writing.
4. Encourage your child to use metaphors and similes. These figures of speech will enrich your child’s writing and take it to the next level. Confused about which is which? A simile compares two similar things by using the word “as” or “like”: He eats like a pig; her voice was clear as a bell. A metaphor leaves out “as” or “like,” making it seem as if the two words are actually the same. For instance: Your room is a pigsty. The office was a buzzing hive of activity. He’s a perfect saint.
5. Give your child guided questions. Students are frequently asked to write a response to some chapters from the book they are reading in school. Guided questions give them direction. Ask your child things like, “What’s happening in the story? Where is it taking place? What new things did you learn about the characters? What is changing as the story goes along?”
6. Show your child how to outline. Learning how to structure compositions and essays to make his/her thoughts clear and easy to follow.
Here’s a sample outline format.
Name of Paragraph Purpose Detailed explanation/Example
Introduction (1 paragraph, 3-5 sentences) To engage the reader and state your topic. Engage the reader: Much like adults, children love controversy, commotion and everything else that creates sensation. Topic: In an effort to help the children focus on education, schools are often forced to ban distracting trendy products such as Yu-Gi-Oh! cards and Silly Bands.
Body (1-3 paragraphs) To provide details supporting your topic sentences Explain how Yu-Gi-Oh! cards and Silly Bands distract kids from schoolwork and which schools took action to ban these. You can write one paragraph about Yu-Gi-Oh! cards and another on Silly Bands.
Conclusion (1 paragraph, 3-5 sentences) To close your composition/essay. Here you can restate your topic sentence, write your opinion and/or give the reader something to think about.
Vera Borukhov founder of Veracity Learning Inc., devoted to providing English and Entrepreneurial education to uncover your child’s genius. Contact Veracity to better your child’s school experience and give you peace of mind. 718-790-8911 or at www.veracityleraning.com.