Helping Your Child Succeed in School: Building Writing Skills at Home

Many parents want to help their children succeed at school, but many also don’t know how besides helping with homework given from the teacher. By using a little bit of your imagination and getting your child excited, you can help your elementary-school-age child build writing skills that they will use throughout their educational career.

Most parents realize that no matted how hard a teacher tries, he or she is just one person trying to reach a large group of children. These children come from different backgrounds, have different interests, and hardest of all for the teacher, different learning abilities. While each teacher does their best, some students may not get the practice or attention that they may need to become strong writers. To develop important writing skills, it is important for children to start early. Frustration or lack of interest may shut them down to learning in the future. This is where parents can help at home.

Most students will begin to learn to write by working on paragraphs. This usually happens in grades 2-4. In school and for homework, they’ll often be asked to write a paragraph on a given topic. Sometimes they may choose a topic from a list and some teachers may even ask them to pick their own topic (which can be a daunting task for a child-to choose one thing to write about).

They will definitely practice writing in school, and should have writing homework. Some will do well and some will struggle. Regardless, by using opportunities in your everyday life to allow your child to write a paragraph, you’re reinforcing the knowledge that they’re learning in school.

One of the best ways to incorporate writing at home is when your child wants something. If they’ve been begging for a new toy, video game, or privilege, have them write a paragraph on why you should give it to them. This approach not only offers your child another opportunity to practice writing, but it gives that writing a practical application. Even at a young age, students are interested in learning things that will work for them. If they learn that writing can be used to persuade, they may find writing more enjoyable.

Another way to incorporate writing at home is in the same vein as writing to get something-writing to get out of something. If your child does something wrong and must face the punishment and they feel this punishment is unfair, have them write a paragraph as to why it’s unfair. Again, you’re using practical applications for writing. Though they may make a big fuss about writing, in the end, they’re going to be more open to the important of writing and what it can do for them.

If your child begins to enjoy writing paragraphs, encourage them to write about topics they are interested in, especially if in class they are required to write from specific prompts. This will allow them to broaden their horizons and their creativity beyond the classroom.

Using writing in creative ways at home helps reinforce what your student is learning at school. How you use the paragraphs are completely up to your parenting style. If you are a weak writer, ask a spouse or older child who is good at writing to look at the paragraphs and see what your child should work on. In conferences, talk about what you’re doing at home with your child’s teacher and ask for any advice they might give about how you can work with your child to improve their writing. A teacher will be ecstatic to know you are working with your child at home!

Remember, as your child grows as a better writer, it is imperative to offer both positive feedback and constructive criticism. Even when they are young, they need to know what they are doing right, and what isn’t working. Again, if writing is not your strong suit, turn to someone who is and ask them to help.

Not every child is going to become a great writer, nor is every child going to enjoy writing. However, the more they understand the process, the more they practice and feel confident about the way they use their words, the more likely they will be to continue to learn the complexities of writing as they continue through their education. By reinforcing writing at home, you will help your child succeed not just in elementary school, but in middle and high school as well as college.

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