Many children suffer from writing essays as they lack writing practice and experience difficulties expressing their thoughts on paper. It has been known that writing skills bring not only good marks at school. Students who can easily write an essay are more confident, have better critical thinking skills, improved non-verbal communication skills, and have better imagination and creativity levels.
Improving writing skills can be challenging to tackle alone, so why not take the role of writing mentor for your child? This article was created to support those parents and caregivers who wish to help their children improve their essay-writing skills. The text below will discuss helpful strategies and exercises.
Explain how to create mind maps.
One of the main obstacles children face during essay writing is coming up with ideas. One of the effective ways to structure the essay and find the key thoughts is to try webbing or clustering techniques.
Choose a topic together and then write it on the paper or the whiteboard’s center. Ask your child to write as many ideas connected to the issue as much as possible. Now it’s time to explain primary and secondary concepts. Take another piece of paper and ask your child to group ideas together in branches and support those branches with new ideas. Emphasize the importance of using keywords or short phrases.
Also, you can use an online mind-mapping application to show what mind-maps look like visually. Show how to transform the mind map into an extended essay outline.
Practice regular writing with your child.
Regular writing activities will positively influence your child’s writing skills and overall performance. Use various exercises for developing writing techniques:
- Freewriting. This technique is great both for children and adults. All you need is to set a timer for a certain period (e.g., start with 5 minutes) and write everything that comes to your mind. Refrain from thinking about grammar, spelling, and whether your text reads smoothly. It helps overcome the writing block and allows you to share your thoughts freely.
- Writing descriptively. Pick an item, event, location, or person and ask your kid to describe it in as much detail as possible to expand their vocabulary. Show how adding sensory details make sentences more appealing and evocative. Explain the use of similes and metaphors.
- Journaling. Engage your child in everyday writing in their notebook or diary. This exercise will boost your child’s writing skills and mental health. It may be a gratitude journal, reflective writing on things the child has learned at school, or a simple summary of the day. You can practice such exercises together and exchange thoughts with each other to create a closer bond.
Create a writing space together.
Even skillful writers need a quiet and distract-free place to write texts. Think about the following tips for creating a study space at home:
- Organize a special area at your home for writing (a quiet corner in the living room, part of the bedroom near the window, etc.).
- Think about light. The place should have good natural light or additional artificial lighting.
- Teach your child how to eliminate distractions and self-organize the workspace.
- Take care of ergonomics and writing materials. The desk and chair should be comfortable and free of unnecessary details. Ensure there are enough pens, pencils, paper, and notebooks. Materials should be organized and easy to access.
- Create a writing routine when a child prepares a writing space and start doing writing homework by practicing journaling or creative writing.
- Allow your child to stay creative. Posters, mood boards, photos, and paintings are great ways to create an engaging and motivating working space.
Teach how to find relevant information.
For any essay, it’s crucial to dedicate enough time to research. Explain how and where to find relevant information on the topic to your child.
- Practice defining keywords from the essay topic or assignment.
- Define reputable and trustworthy web sources, articles, and books.
- Make up a list of databases and websites for the child to find information.
- Encourage critical thinking. Help your child develop questions regarding the validity of information and comparing information from various sources.
- Explain how to take notes and organize findings effectively.
- Teach about plagiarism, paraphrasing, and citing.
Take some time to research a particular topic together. Evaluate how the child followed your instructions and give feedback. If you see that the child does something wrong or ineffective, suggest how to improve those gaps and use the material they have found in the essay. Be supportive and kind.
Explain the importance of proofreading and editing.
Many students skip this critical step in essay writing. As a result, their scores may decrease just because of grammar or spelling mistakes. Here are some suggestions to help your child improve editing and proofreading skills:
- First, explain to the child how planning time for editing and taking a break after finishing the first draft is important.
- Encourage your child to read the text aloud to define gaps in ideas and whether the text flows smoothly.
- Help your child identify grammar and spelling errors with online proofreading tools.
- Remind them that you are always open to giving feedback on their writing and available for constructive criticism.
Every effort of your child towards developing writing skills should be fairly praised. Positive feedback and your active participation in writing activities will motivate your child to put more and more time towards improving their essay writing.
With a bit of persistence and a positive attitude, you can help your child gain better writing and critical thinking skills. Don’t give up, and results won’t keep you waiting.