One of the main challenges of parenting is awakening the child’s desire to learn, explore, discover, and express. Sure, we can leave the education part to the teachers and the iPad, but is that the right solution? No! Sometimes, parents have to interfere. It’s their job to be the first teachers their children will ever have.
As your children make progress through different educational levels, they will be expected to write. A lot! College and university, in particular, are heavily linked to academic writing. Your kid will have to write essays, research papers, term papers, and, hopefully, an entire dissertation. The first challenge is an essay.
The teacher assigns an essay with broad guidelines, and your little student is expected to deliver a masterful piece by a precise deadline. You’ll probably face a very frustrated child at this point. Your kid is supposed to write an entire paper, but no one taught them how to do that. Maybe they were writing short stories before, but an essay is a whole other thing. How do you help them write a perfect paper? There are 5 steps to success.
Practice, practice, practice!
A professor of education at Arizona State University reviewed around 250 studies on how to help students develop writing skills. Professor Steve Graham was trying to answer the age-old question: is it best to leave students to learn writing naturally, or do they achieve better results when they get instructions? He found that effective practices do help with the progress. Here’s the first tip he gives: spend more time writing.
The writing practice is not applied in the classroom. Teachers may give brief exercises, but what they prefer doing is using the classroom time for lessons and leaving the practice part as a homework activity. So, you’re in charge of that part of your kid’s education.
If you want your kid to write great essays, you need to motivate them to write a lot. Think of a theme of the day. What did they learn today? Did they learn about the solar system? Set a topic: “If you could visit any planet, which one would you choose? How do you imagine life there?” The following day, set a realistic topic: “Do research on Africa. Write about the way animals live there.”
Make sure these topics are interesting for your kid.
An essay usually consists of 5 paragraphs: an introduction, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Teachers usually explain what each paragraph is supposed to contain when assigning the first essay to the class. However, sometimes they forget to provide examples, so the students have no idea how the actual paper would look like.
At the website of any essay writing service, you’ll find great guidelines and samples of various types of papers. Give few of them to your kid to read, and help them envision what a proper essay looks like.
Use Pinterest to organize resources
Pinterest is a really fun tool for creating visual material you find on the web. Parents like using it for collecting parenting tips, home decor ideas, photos of beautiful clothes, and much more. Now, you can start creating special boards for your kid’s essays.
The essay writing process starts with good research. Before your child can write a paper on a topic, they need to learn something about it. They won’t be able to memorize all information they read online. Moreover, they will need to save the resources, so they can reference them in the paper. That’s why Pinterest is a great tool to use during this stage. Whenever you find an interesting source of information, pin it in the relevant board.
Once your kid is inspired enough through the online material you both located, they can proceed to the following stage.
Brainstorm and plan
One of the main requirements for an essay is cohesion. If you assign a topic and let your kid write whatever comes to his or her mind, you’ll end up reading a disconnected essay that the teacher won’t like. That’s why it’s important to start the process with brainstorming and planning.
- MindMeister is one of the most effective online brainstorming tools. If your kid is not that good at using the computer, you can create the map as he or she comes up with ideas. The mind maps created with this tool are highly visual, and they help the user find connections between the arguments.
- When the writer-to-be gets the main ideas through the brainstorming process, it’s time for planning. Essay Map is a great tool that helps fit those ideas in a proper essay structure. It asks the writer to create a few sentences for each section of the paper, and then it offers a map for the essay. After that, it will be really easy to connect the dots and write the actual paper.
Let them use the tablet
Does your kid think that the tablet is much more fun than plain pen-and-paper? That’s okay. We’re dealing with tech generation, after all. You can use your child’s preference for technology to inspire him or her to write. Byword is a great text editor for iPad. It makes the process of writing clean and simple, and it has a neat markdown feature.
To make the essay writing process more fun, you can use Bamboo Paper – an app that simulates the process of writing with a real pen on a real paper.
Beware: the process won’t be easy. Your kid will likely show some resistance to essay writing. What’s the best method to fight resistance? Persistence! Inspire your kid to practice more, but think of more amusing topics every time. When you manage to turn writing into a daily routine, the success will be inevitable.
Karen Dikson is a teacher and a writer from New Jersey. Her works have been published on Huffington Post and other well-known educational resources. She loves to help her students succeed and achieve their goals. Connect with Karen on Twitter
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Children’s creativity is endless. Little ones are able to imagine things that go beyond expectations. If kids engage in writing from an early age, they will be able to expand their creative potential. Children have a natural tendency to notice and observe the world around them; writing is a fun way for kids to express themselves and build skills at the same time!
Needless to say, it won’t be easy to teach a young one to write. It will take more than providing a piece of paper and a pencil, and leaving everything else to natural tendencies. This skill requires a lot of practice to be developed, so it would be best to start as early as possible. The following tools will help you make writing easier for your child.
- JumpStart Essay Writing Activities
This online tool covers the basics of the essay writing process by showing children what each of the five paragraphs should to contain. Once your child makes enough progress, they can continue practicing with the Writing Worksheets that the site provides. There are five fun essay writing activities provided for free: Rules of Writing an Essay, Essay on Twin Towers Devastation, Autobiography of My Favorite Thing, Picture Writing, and Essay on Mom.
- Interactive Sites for Education
This website provides fun resources that teach young children how to write and understand written content. The lessons are taught through short cartoons and interactive exercises. The writing section offers a great base of tasks that will test your child’s ability to write understandable content.
- ReadWriteThink Student Interactives
Interactive activities are an important part of the learning process. This website provides effective exercises for grades K-12. Preschool age children can also benefit from this tool using their Story Map and Learning About Language games.
- Teen Ink
This is an awesome website dedicated to the art of writing. It offers resources on fiction, poetry, nonfiction, art, and photography. In addition, Teen Ink provides summer programs and camps for teenagers. The essays featured on the website provide inspiration for learners who want to improve their writing skills.
- Essay Mama
EssayMama offers great tips and guides on writing, as well as fun articles that inspire children to express their own thoughts in written form.
- Teach the Children Well
This isn’t the most visually stunning website, but that doesn’t make it any less useful for parents and instructors. A list of links guides you to online resources that will be useful at any stage of the learning process. You can explore the basic steps of research, character development, the 5-paragraph essay, picture book projects, the 3-step creative writing process, and much more. You will also find awesome games that teach writing through fun activities.
- Time4Writing – Free Writing Resources
This is a mandatory website for parents and educators who want to teach writing effectively. You will find links to resources organized in seven categories: Writing Skills, Writing Sentences, Writing Paragraphs, Writing Essays, Writing Mechanics, Standardized Testing Writing, and Teaching Writing. Some of the most useful tools this website provides are the graphic organizers and fun exercises for each category.
- Kids Essays
This website provides a collection of simple essays, short paragraphs, project works, poems, and speeches for children. You will find great essay topics for kids ages 6-10. Try assigning some of these topics on a regular basis and you’ll see how your child makes step-by-step progress. Each sample comes with an assigned target age group, so you won’t confuse your learner with content that’s too complicated for them to understand.
- MyKidsWay – Essay Writing
Good sample essays for young children are not easy to locate. This website is a great source of content in four categories: narrative, persuasive, expository, and descriptive essays. Start with the featured essays, then dig deeper to find inspiration on different topics. When your child starts writing more, encourage them to take part in the site’s weekly essay contest. Winners are published in the mini essays section.
- Hemingway Editor
As your child makes progress in the art of essay writing, it might be difficult for them to limit the thoughts that they put on paper in a clean sentence. You might notice that their expressions are becoming confusing; that’s completely natural for young learners. Hemingway Editor is a great tool you can use in such situations. It analyzes the sentence and provides a readability score. In addition, you will see all confusing sentences highlighted in yellow and red. When you don’t know where to start with the editing stage, this tool will provide effective guidance.