The most common (almost nagging) complaint I’ve been hearing from parents recently revolves around a single point of contention - writing. Writing habits (or the lack of it) are an absolutely uncompromisable criterion for parents globally and I understand why. It has always been an important form of communication and a key part of education. But in today’s technology-driven world, especially post the advent of Covid, kids aren’t given many opportunities to practise and improve their ability to write. This leaves many parents wondering how to improve their child’s writing skills.
Thankfully, there are many things that one can do at home to help improve children’s writing skills. Here are some:
1. Make writing matter:
When you expect children to work hard towards something, remember to make it matter enough that it is worth the work. For younger children, writing birthday cards, secret notes, diaries, letters, captions to pictures or persuasive arguments on why they should get a pony for their birthday matter in a way that worksheets probably won’t. Teens could begin writing about their friends, favourite bands, summer holidays or anything that stirs their souls.
2. Words read and words said:
Stories and expressions are at the centre of children’s writing, vocabulary and thinking skills. That’s why good readers are always better writers. Let your children discover a varied variety of books. If it’s hard to get them to read a book, you can try reading aloud, listening to podcasts or audiobooks. These are all great ways for children to absorb language. Further to that, talking about what you’ve read or heard will help them develop analysing and summarising skills - very important traits for good writing. So ask them open-ended questions, what they think, how they felt, what things reminded them of, etc.
3. Mistakes are okay:
Writing, liking many things, isn’t about getting it right the first time. Even your child’s favourite book went through many, many drafts to become that awesome. Encourage children to revise - make them look at it as a refinement exercise more than a correction exercise. Assure them that most of the important writings of their life will allow for revision and spellcheck. In fact, many children don’t like writing solely because they are afraid of making mistakes. So focus on the expression and leave mechanics for the revision process.
4. Use Technology To Your Advantage:
There’s no denying the fact that technology plays a huge part in our lives - mostly to ease things for us. Why not use it to your advantage by having your child create a blog? This can work like magic on improving their writing skills besides keeping them hooked to writing as their blog grows.
5. Encourage Journaling:
Keeping a journal is a great way to express thoughts and ideas that also improves children’s writing skills. For younger kids, you could plan an outing to pick a fun journal to encourage them to write in it as much as possible. For both younger and older kids alike, this confidante will help them improve their writing and thinking skills without feeling like a task.
Last but not the least, writing is hard work. Whichever stage your child is working on right now - be it forming thoughts into words or spelling those words correctly - writing challenges are frustrating, so have patience. And oh, a blog won’t be a bad idea after all! ;)