10 Tips to Help Your Child with Writing

By Becky of Your Modern Family

Middle School

Sylvan Learning partnered with Your Modern Family for this post.

Do you remember your favorite book as a child? Maybe your mom or dad read it to you at night after bath time, or maybe you stayed up late at night reading it under your covers with a flashlight. This book is probably one you remember fondly as the book that changed the way you viewed reading, and maybe even one you couldn’t wait to read to your own children. But did you realize the impact this book had on your writing?

As a parent, you have the chance to introduce your child to a book that will change the way they view reading and writing — the book that will make them want to read and write.

But what if that author hadn’t written your favorite book? Or what if you’d only read 25% of it?

Many children are struggling in writing. According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, “Twenty-four percent of students at both grades 8 and 12 performed at the Proficient level in writing in 2011. The NAEP Proficient level represents solid academic performance for each grade assessed. Students performing at this level have clearly demonstrated the ability to accomplish the communicative purpose of their writing.”

This means that 75% did not perform at the proficient level.

They go onto say that “Fifty-four percent of eighth-graders and 52 percent of twelfth-graders performed at the Basic level in writing in 2011. The Basic level denotes partial mastery of the prerequisite knowledge and skills that are fundamental for proficient work at each grade.”

So what can be done to help kids become more confident in writing?

Here are 10 writing tips from Your Modern Family:

1. Get help. 

Sometimes kids need a little extra help. Sylvan Learning offers a variety of writing programs to help your child get the exact help he or she needs. Whether your child needs help to catch up, a little boost to keep up or extra challenges to get ahead, Sylvan has a program for him or her! These programs focus on grammar and mechanics, structure and process and writing more in-depth thoughtful analysis, leaving kids better prepared for schoolwork, standardized tests, college application essays and holding a job.

2. Focus on all types of writing. 

When you work with your child or take him or her to a learning center like Sylvan, be sure to focus on a variety of writing styles. Sylvan’s writing programs focus on a variety of writing styles including descriptive, fictional narrative, nonfiction, informative and persuasive.

3. Practice. 

Have your child write as often as possible! Write thank you notes, write birthday cards, write short stories, write letters to grandparents and out-of-town relatives. Keep asking and presenting opportunities for writing – practice really does make perfect!

4. Have fun. 

Make writing fun! Find an extracurricular that remembers writing is fun. Sylvan’s expert writing tutors have this same idea, which is why they’re great at building confidence and inspiring a love of writing!

5. Build up vocabulary. 

Don’t be afraid to use new words at home. The more words your child has in his or her vocabulary, the more ideas he or she can communicate on paper. Read new books, go new places and talk about new things to help expose your child to new words.

6. Help them work through their idea. 

It can be tricky for a child to get his or her idea onto paper. Show your child how to make a simple mind map and help he or she brainstorm ideas. Help spell words. Remember to be a helper, not a critic.

7. Give them a place to write. 

Set up a special space that is theirs to write in. A desk in their room with colored pencils, pens, notebooks and paper. Giving your child the tools to write is a great way to encourage them!

8. Go over their schoolwork with them. 

Praise their work. You may see mistakes, but try to focus on the story and praising their writing. Then, once you’ve praised their writing, offer support with grammar, spelling and punctuation.

9. Write and read to your child. 

Keep a journal and write to your child daily. Let your child read your writing. Reading is just as important! Your child is never too old to be read to, so pick a book and read a little bit of it to him or her every day.

10. Build confidence in writing. 

Having confidence is key to writing. Many people lack confidence when it comes to writing, so they lack the drive to try. Help to build that confidence in your child or find someone who can. Sylvan’s writing tutors not only help to improve your child’s writing skills, but they also work on building confidence and removing the stress that comes with writing assignments. When your child is confident, he or she will be better prepared for schoolwork, standardized tests, college application essays and even holding a job.

Psst… how about some FREE writing resources?

Looking for more writing tips and tools to help your child? Check out SylvanNation.com! Our FREE website has loads of educational resources (including workbooks!) Sign up for free today to get started earning points for completing easy activities, like reading blog posts and taking short quizzes, then trade your points for cool rewards.