If you are like many moms, you probably dreaded when it was time to write in school. You were most likely expected to write some essays in high school and maybe even a term paper before you graduated. If you went on to college, you probably breathed a sigh of relief once you got all those essays written and passed English Composition I and II. Other than your formal education, writing is still a part of your daily life but usually in a much more practical way – making lists, writing notes, for entertainment like social media, and writing specific content for work. Your child, on the other hand, is being introduced to writing much younger than you were. At Coleman Vision we are all about helping your child succeed in school and we’ve put together four tips to help your not only become a proficient writer, but also develop a passion for writing!
Tip One: A writing assignment may seem overwhelming to your child. If you get it ahead of time, work with your child to break the assignment into chunks. For instance, the first day try brainstorming to help them picture a story in their minds eye. On day two, a rough draft can be developed. The third day you can choose a few sentences out of the rough draft which can be improved individually. The fourth day you can look it over on the whole for editing and revising. A final copy can be produced on the fifth day.
Tip Two: If your child hates writing and dreads writing assignments, set aside just a few minutes three days a week for a free-write. Explain the rules which are only no talking and keep writing then set the timer for 10 minutes. Make it fun with a variety of writing activities: journaling, blogging, writing captions for photos for scrapbooks, emailing friends, old-fashioned letter writing, writing a short story, wiring a twist ending to a movie you both love, or writing song or rap lyrics. While your child is writing, you need to be writing too. Let them see that writing is critical in your life. Let them know what you’re doing and why it’s important to you. This is an especially fun activity in the summer to keep their brains engaged and make writing fun!
Tip Three: Your child might dislike writing for a variety of reasons. If handwriting and spacing or even spelling is a problem for the child, poor eye movement may be the cause. This can make writing seem tedious and laborious. The child have many ideas that he or she wants to put on paper but just gets too frustrated with the mechanics. The most effective strategy for helping these struggling writers is to develop proficient word-processing skills. There are so many programs today that make learning keyboarding more fun and less tedious, and it’s a skill children can develop quickly. In early elementary, practice sessions need only last five – ten minutes, increasing to 15 minutes for upper elementary.
Tip Four: Be sure to offer your child support when writing. Before you offer feedback, find something positive to say about the writing, such as “I like the way you started your paragraph.” If your child is stuck on developing the topic, read what is written and ask some thought provoking questions: “Can you tell me how or why…”; “What happened after… “; or “Tell me more about…”. It can also be fun to keep a tally of things you, as an adult, learned from their writing. This gets more fun the older they get and the more involved the subject matter.
Whatever you do, remember that all kids develop at different rates, but effective writing is a skill that will take them far in life. We love to see great writing, and that typically comes from great reading. Great reading comes with great vision. If your child is struggling with reading and writing that might be due to an undiagnosed vision based learning problem. Take our vision quiz to learn more.