Helping Your Student Write
As writing assignments become more difficult, it is hard for parents to remain involved; however, there are many ways parents can help with the writing process.
Writing is often one of the most difficult and frustrating skills students must master. Not only is writing a difficult process to master but it seems that our lifestyle often discourages writing, thus making it seem as if writing standards are decreasing. Writing is a skill that MUST constantly be practiced.
We don’t write as much today…
* TV and Video are passive activities
* Telephones often take the place of letter writing, invitations or note writing
* Our ready made society provides greeting cards and messages for every occasion
* Form or computerized letters are common
* Often poorly written songs, books or film scripts become best sellers
One bright spot…
E- Mail has revived short written messages
* Read the papers your teen writes for school.
* Photocopy a good paper and send it to an interested relative or friend.
* Students with a writing talent should be encouraged to keep a collection of best works.
* Encourage older students to help younger students write.
* Have students write messages on family greeting cards.
* Encourage your teenager to write letters to the editor if he/she has a strong opinion about current events.
* Encourage students to correct their own writing mistakes.
* Write a holiday journal or write a journal back and forth to each other. When you write for your child and he or she writes back to you it shows the student different ways of saying something and it may keep an open communication going.
* Encourage students to read good writing and model it.
* Talk or read about the topic your student is writing about. Tell the student what you know or have experienced in relation to the topic they have chosen.
So often parents try to help their students write and sometimes frustration sets in or the parent just gives up and writes a bit of the work themselves. If you are a parent that is doing more work than your student, in this area, please try a few of the following suggestions. They may save your sanity.
Help with Pre- writing
Do encourage the student to explain the assignment made by the teacher
Don’t interpret the assignment; ask questions to guide the student to the correct interpretation.
Do have the student discuss what he or she wants to write about. Make certain the student can offer details to support any ideas developed.
Don’t tell the student what to write about. Make a wide range of suggestions from which the student can choose.
Do encourage the student to jot down words or ideas as he or she thinks through the topic.
Don’t add details for the student. Ask questions. What color? How ugly?
Do encourage students to write a rough copy.
Don’t worry about neatness or correctness yet.
Do provide a dictionary and thesaurus. Remind students of alternate spellings.
f is also ph etc.
Don’t spell the words for students before you help them find the word in the dictionary. Then spell the word if necessary.
Do ask questions of students when you read their rough copy. For example:
*What sound did the door make?
*What word might paint a better picture here?
*What did the man look like?
*Ask how a sentence could be changed or reorganized to make the piece clearer.
Don’t correct, reword or add details yourself. Guide the student through questions. It is his or her composition. He may want the man to have blue hair.
The Final Draft
Do encourage the student to be careful in the preparation of a good copy.
Don’t rewrite the paper for the student no matter how sloppy or unusual you think the presentation is.
Do listen to the student read the paper out loud. Ask the student questions as they read to help make the piece smooth and give them a sense of pride.
Don’t make a judgment about the piece. Remember students are just learning many aspects of the writing process.
Do read the paper for the student. Let him or her hear how it sounds. Help the student with any wording or sentences they want to change but are unsure of.
Don’t insist on changes you think should be made. Just guide and help with changes if the student asks.
The Graded Paper
Do read the teacher’s comments together. Make sure the student understands what was said. Use the paper as a guide to help the student change something in the writing for next time. Use it as a learning tool.
Don’t complain about the grade. Encourage the attitude that the paper and grade gives an indication of how the writing can be improved. If you are concerned or have questions, speak to the teacher privately or encourage the student to question something you do not understand.
Do talk about the discouragement of professional writers. Explain how writers learn by writing, rewriting, rewriting and rewriting again and again,
Don’t challenge the teacher’s judgment. Encourage the student to talk to the teacher and clarify any questions he or she is concerned about. Do call the teacher privately if you feel something seems unfair.
Do help the student rework on the piece of writing even if the teacher doesn’t require it. Then send the piece to a supportive relative or friend to show you are proud of your child or teen’s effort.
Don’t be afraid to give a great deal of guidance and support at this point Encourage the student to seek help at school if the revised work is still not what the student is pleased with.