Tips for Parents: Ways to Help Your Child with Writing
Ideas you can implement at home to create a supportive environment that encourages writing development:
- Talk with your child about places you visit, work you do, books you read, or television programs you watch together.
- Encourage your child to read, especially things he or she chooses, and let your child see you read.
- Praise your child’s efforts at writing. Be primarily interested in content. Emphasize your child’s successes. For every error your child makes, there are a dozen things done well. Resist the tendency to focus only on errors of spelling, punctuation, and other mechanical parts of writing.
- Provide a suitable place for your child to write--a flat surface, good light, a comfortable chair.
- Give gifts (and encourage others to do the same for birthdays and special occasions) associated with writing: pens, pencils, pads of paper, stationery, a dictionary or thesaurus, erasers--even stamps.
- Encourage your child to write request letters for information, free samples, travel brochures, etc.
- Be alert to occasions when your child can be involved in writing. Writing for real purposes is rewarding, and the daily activities of families present many opportunities for purposeful writing (telephone messages or notes to family members).
Questions you can ask when your child brings writing home
About Purpose and Audience:
- What do you want to write about? Why?
- Who will want or need to read this?
- What do you want your reader to know or do?
- How will you present it to the reader?
About Idea Development/Support:
- Do your details help the reader understand?
- Are they the best details and examples for the reader and for your purpose?
- Have you explained important ideas?
- Do your examples focus on the main ideas?
- Do your details make the ideas clearer?
- Did you stick to your plan throughout the piece of writing?
- Does the order of the ideas make sense?
- Does all of your information fit together?
- Do your ideas lead the reader easily from one to another?
- Will your reader be able to follow all of your thinking?
- Do your sentences have different lengths?
- Different beginnings?
- Different structures?
- Or do they sound too much alike?
- Do your sentences express complete thoughts?
- Have you used a variety of words to make your meaning clear?
- Do the words say what you mean?
- Are all of your words used correctly?
- Have you made any mistakes in spelling?
- Do you see any punctuations problems?
- Have you used capital letters correctly?
More information may be found by visiting the Kentucky Department of Education website http://www.education.ky.gov/KDE/Instructional+Resources/High+School/English+Language+Arts/Writing/Kentucky+Writing+Handbook.htm
Selected comments from NCTE brochure “How To Help Your Child Become A Better Writer.” Printed with permission from NCTE.
Printed by Kentucky Writing Program Funds
Kentucky Department of Education
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