Remember writing takes time, help your child to start from when their paper is due and work backwards:
Find out when is your child’s assignment is due and devise timeline with your child. The quality of their writing will reflect the time they put into the assignment. To avoid the crisis of last minute writing your child needs to plan ahead and doing pre-writing: this will allow him to be more productive and organized when he sits down to write. Help your child to schedule several blocks of time to devote to his writing assignment. Be sure there is time to walk away from the assignment for a while. So he can come back later and make changes and revisions with a fresh non-rushed mind.
After a workable time line has been developed, help guide your child in the writing process. Your child needs to understand both their audience and purpose.
First to help him understand his audience ask:
- Who is the audience for your writing? (Teacher? Classmates? Yourself?)
- Do you think your audience is interested in the topic? Are you interested in this topic?
- What does your audience already know about this topic? What do you know?
- What does your audience need to know about this topic? What do you need to know?
- What do you hope the audience will gain from your work? What do you wish to gain?
Help your child keep in mind the purpose of the writing assignment.
Writing can have many different purposes. Here are just a few examples:
- Analyzing: Breaking a topic down into its parts, to examine the relationships between the parts.
- Evaluating: Examining something to determine its value or worth based on a set of criteria.
- Investigating: Questioning a topic to discover facts, striving to be as neutral and objective as possible.
- Narrating: Telling a story or giving an account of events.
- Observing: Writing about a person, place, object, image or event that they have directly watched or experienced through detailed descriptions.
- Persuading: Expressing a viewpoint on an issue or topic in an effort to convince others that his viewpoint is correct,
- Responding: Writing that is about another text, or question.
- Summarizing: Presenting the main points about another writing in a condensed form.
The hardest thing about a writing assignment for children is often just to start writing. Make sure that in their first draft they do not worry about spelling, grammar, or writing in complete sentences. Tell them at first they need to brainstorm and write down everything they can think of that might relate to their topic and then reread and evaluate their work. Explain that later they will cut out bad ideas, rework spelling and polish format. Once they have a basic outline then they begin to think about organization. Let them know as better ideas occur to them as they rewrite, they can refine and rework their original writing as long as they stay within their timeline and due date.
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