As a parent, you’ve probably written countless letters, school papers, text messages, and emails over the years, and you probably didn’t question your ability too much. In fact, you probably don’t remember a time when you COULDN’T write…you just did it, and you can still do it when needed.
But now times have changed: you’re the one observing your own child’s writing.
If they’re middle or high school age, you may notice that writing assignments are getting harder. They’re no longer responding to prompts about “my favorite pet” or “where we went on our summer vacation.” They’re having to respond to a novel that they’re reading in school (that you inconveniently haven’t read) and they’re asking you for help.
Or, perhaps they’re assigned to read a piece of nonfiction writing, come up with something called a “claim” and “use evidence” to prove their point. Perhaps this sounds like a hokey, confusing task that isn’t as straightforward as you wish it was.
Students who write with ease may never bring such assignments to your attention, but what if your student happens to be stuck? You may feel lost as a parent because you yourself can WRITE, of course, but you’re no longer helping your kid spell words or reminding them to capitalize proper nouns.
Fact: Middle and high school writing assignments take more time to mull over.
Great, you think. It’s what’s expected of the upper grades. However, what if busy parents like yourself don’t have the time to figure out how to help your young teen figure out their writing homework?
Writing skills are in demand everywhere; in English class, history class, and occasionally in other academic subjects . Future employers are going to expect your child to know how to respond appropriately to company emails. Perhaps they’ll be the boss themselves, in which they’ll definitely benefit from a solid, confident writing ability.
I’ll be honest with you: if your child is hesitant or uncertain about their writing, it’s because they haven’t done enough of it.
Certainly there are learning differences or students who deal with challenges such as dyslexia, but if your student has no outlying issue that might make the writing process more challenging for them, there’s good news: They can improve their writing skills efficiently.
By writing more often.
And by being given relevant, thought-provoking writing prompts
And don’t even get me started on the fact that students who read for fun will have an advantage when it comes to putting words down on paper… but you probably know that already. I will point out, however, that your child can become an effective writer without necessarily being a bookworm.
You may think, Jessica, am I supposed to come up with exciting writing prompts for my kid to answer at the dinner table or on car rides to and from practice?
Certainly not. You can if you want to (educators love parental support) but you shouldn’t have to be burdened with having to come up with creative things for your teen to write about. That’s my job.
Here’s one: “You wake up to the sound of glass breaking, Suddenly…..”
Annnnnd, the writer (your teen) has to finish the story. It can go in any direction. The important thing is that they WRITE. Prompts like this get their brain going, and without the added pressure of this writing activity being graded, kids can write with ease. They’re even allowed to make mistakes.
As a writing tutor, I give writing prompts like these all of the time. The student and I always use Google docs, and I’m able to see them write live in real time. I can put notes of direction or encouragement in the document’s margin, and oftentimes, I time the student, they write, then they re-read, proofread, and we discuss the strengths and weaknesses of their response. It’s honestly so much fun, and productive too, because they are learning to use their imagination to come up with their ideas. When they’re ready, they can self-correct and write a final draft.
Students are busy in school, so they don’t get to write “for fun” much during their academic classes. But, if they are struggling to write for their school subjects, my best recommendation is to have them write once a day for ONE month. Try it. Better yet, contact me to ask about my writing tutoring availability.
When families commit to tutoring for one or two days per week, they are held accountable and are more likely to see growth in their child. If this sounds encouraging to you, don’t hesitate to reach out! I’m always one email or or text message away: