Improve Your Child’s Writing Skills
When most people begin to help a child with his or her writing, the first and sometimes only thing they do is take pencil to paper and practice writing. While writing practice certainly improves writing skills, it is not the only help you can give. Reading and learning to discuss what was read is just as beneficial. Without these skills, the child’s writing will never improve as much as it could. If you want to help your child with writing, you need not only write with your child, but read with him or her.
Read, Read, Read
If you want your child to be a good writer, make sure they read… a lot. The best writers are the ones that read the most. To make sure that your child is one of those really good writers, make sure they are also one of those really avid readers. Provide them with a variety of books and read with them some of the time.
Read Fiction and Non-Fiction
The majority of books that parents read with their kids are considered "stories." Do not limit story time to fiction, however . Read non-fiction with your kids also. This will improve their critical thinking skills as well as prepare them for school reading and writing.
Read Different Types of Text
Don’t limit your child’s home library to books! If you are trying to make your child a better writer, provide not only different genres but different types of reading material for them:
- Comic Books
- Graphic Novels
- Articles from the Internet
With so many different reading materials out there, let your child explore them all.
Talk About What You Read
Discuss books with your child. Talk not only about what happens, but also about how the text was written. For instance, does the author use repetition? Does the author use rhyme? Talk about the way the author uses punctuation and capitalization. If you point these things out to your children and talk about them they will be more likely to use them in their own writing.
Talk About Your Child’s Writing
If you have read and discussed books with your child, it will be a natural step to read and discuss your child’s writing.
When you first read what your child wrote, comment on what the writing was about. After you have talked about the content, discuss mechanics if you would like.
Be careful not to look for perfection. If you do, it may make them uncomfortable and unwilling to share their writing with you in the future. Always find something positive about what they wrote to comment on.
Talk About Your Writing
Write something and share it with your child. Not only will this help your child, but it will remind you how hard it can sometimes be to share and discuss your writing with another person. (Teachers call this modeling and it can work wonders!)
Most importantly, keep your mood light and your criticism (should you have any) constructive. Try to make your writing instruction as unlike school as possible and you will probably find success!