Emphasis for learning is very seldom placed on writing, and yet it is the cornerstone of a successful student. The ability to communicate effectively and outline ideas and understanding is central to getting good grades. When students are able to express themselves confidently, they will succeed in learning and in life.
According to plan
Ask your child what their process is for writing assignments and essays. You may be shocked to find that they don’t really have a process or that their process is a generic one that doesn’t really fit with their learning style.
Work together with teachers and tutors to find a process that suits your child’s learning style. For example, visual learners may need to create a mind map where all the most important points are drawn into a diagram and the connections between them are illustrated too. Then they can see their assignment in visual terms and that makes it easier for them to write a coherent essay.
This is a hard sell with most kids as things move so quickly thanks to the internet, that they just want to get the task done and move onto the next one. However, improving your writing can only be done effectively through revision.
Teachers may have too many students and classes to help with revisions, so this task may fall to you or your in-home and online tutor. Discussing where the assignment falls short of the teacher’s expectations and how it can be improved in a supportive, constructive atmosphere will help your child to grow as a writer.
Be cognizant of the fact that preparing a first draft and having time for revision takes excellent organizational and time management skills. Help your child to plan enough time for each assignment or get a tutor who is able to teach these kinds of executive skills.
A great way to motivate your child is to show them just how important writing really is. Ask them what kinds of careers or jobs they admire most, then find friends and family members in those lines of work who can explain the relevance of writing to their success. Knowing the importance of writing for making it through college assignments, exams and dissertations and how writing can fuel their success will help to highlight why it is important.
Read… a lot!
One of the most effective ways to improve writing is through reading. Reading helps students to expand their vocabulary, improve sentence structure and grasp the intricacies of grammar. You don’t need to foist the classics on unwilling young readers; allow them to read whatever they enjoy. From manga to magazines, encourage reading of any nature. Making reading pleasurable will help them to get through all those high school reading lists.
Have fun with words
Make writing a fun family tradition. Play lots of word games, have ‘word of the day’ calendars with rewards for those who use the words in sentences, write silly poems and limericks, go to poetry slams and read funny books. Having fun with words, writing and reading will encourage your children to see writing as a pleasurable pursuit.