Parents – does your child struggle with writing? Are they unsure how to take their thoughts and write them out in a clear, organized manner? Writing doesn’t have to be hard. With the right steps, writing can be taught in a simple and easy way. Here are five tips from Top Score Writing to improve your child’s writing skills.
One of the most important steps to writing is planning out your ideas! Using a simple outline or web, have your child plan out the topics they will be writing about. Have them decide on their subject matter and then choose three or four main topics about that subject to discuss in their writing. They will turn each of these topics listed on their planning sheet into a paragraph.
Planning before they write is crucial. It saves time and reduces frustration.
I __________ (Introduction)
T1 __________ (Topic 1)
T2 __________ (Topic 2)
T3 __________ (Topic 3)
C __________ (Conclusion)
2. Simple Introduction and Conclusion
An important part of writing is having an introduction and conclusion. Introductions and conclusions should be kept simple and around three to five sentences. The introduction should start with a hook and then introduce the topics that will be discussed in the essay.
A hook is simply an opening statement designed to interest the reader, such as a question, a statistic, or an anecdote. The conclusion paragraph should summarize what was covered in the writing, restate the topics discussed, and close with an overall thought or feeling about the topic.
Like anything in life, children need a structure to follow when it comes to writing. The structure of introduction and conclusion paragraphs was explained in tip #2. For the middle paragraphs, teach your child how to start each one with a transition word or phrase and a topic sentence.
The topic sentence should state the main topic of that paragraph. In each middle paragraph, there should be at least two supporting details that support the topic. For each supporting detail, teach your child to elaborate. If students follow this structure, they can easily build middle paragraphs that are organized and support the topic sufficiently.
- Transition word or phrase
- Topic sentence
- Supporting detail
- Supporting detail
4. Practice Makes Perfect
Yes, it’s true. Just like with anything in life, the more you practice writing, the better you get at it. Repetition and practice are the keys to improving your child’s writing skills. After teaching a “part” of the writing process (ex. Planning, Introduction paragraph, etc.) have students practice writing that “part” over and over again. Once your child has learned the different “parts” of the writing process, have them practice writing to various prompts. The more they practice, the better their writing will get.
5. Keep It Fun
Writing is not everyone’s favorite subject. Most students tend to think it is hard. That is why it is important to keep it fun. And, yes, there are ways to make writing fun for children! Two ways are to make writing into a game and to get your child up and moving around.
Timed Writing Game
Using a timer, give your child a certain amount of time for each paragraph. For example, set the timer and tell your child they have 15 minutes (times may vary) to write their introduction paragraph. After the 15 minutes are over, if your child finished before the time expired, give them a raffle ticket. Then set the timer and tell your child they will have 20 minutes to write their first body paragraph. After the 20 minutes are up, give your child another raffle ticket. Do this for each paragraph and then raffle off a prize. This not only turns writing into a fun race against the clock, but it also helps children learn to bypass the overthinking and inertia that plagues many students when faced with a blank page.
Writing Around the Room
Set up areas in the house and label them as planning, introduction paragraph, topic 1 paragraph, topic 2 paragraph, and so on. Have students move around the house as they write each part of their essay. This allows them to not only get up and move around while writing, but it also breaks up the writing process into parts, so it is not overwhelming. In addition, this movement helps solidify the steps in their mind, helping the structure “stick.”
Writing doesn’t have to be a painful experience. Breaking it down, practicing, and making it fun are all simple steps both parents and teachers can utilize to improve the process for students. For more tips and useful information, visit the Top Score Writing program.
About the Author
Lisa Collum is an author, educator, and mother of four on a mission to empower parents to give their children the education they deserve. She is the owner and operator of Coastal Middle and High School in Florida and the creator of Top Score Writing, Inc.–the ONE and ONLY writing curriculum for grades 2-12 specifically designed to help prepare students for the state writing assessment. Since the pandemic began, Lisa has been a go-to expert for tips on how to help keep kids educated and engaged while distance learning at home. Learn more on her website.