How to Help Your Children Become Better Writers

by Peggy Gisler, Ed.S. and Marge Eberts, Ed.S.

This article offers some tips to help your child develop their writing skills.

Writing doesn't just happen. It's a skill that develops slowly after much practice. When parents provide an environment that encourages writing, their children are motivated to write. What kinds of things can you do at home to help your child develop good writing skills? Here are a few simple suggestions for preschoolers, elementary schoolers, middle and high schoolers, and writers of all ages.

Preschool

  • Give your children writing supplies, especially appealing markers.
  • Put a chalk or dry erase board on the wall at your children's eye level to encourage them to write.
  • Write down the stories that your preschoolers tell you.
  • Encourage your children to make birthday and greeting cards for friends and relatives.
Elementary School
  • Put a wipe-off board up in the kitchen to serve as the family message center.
  • Create a family newsletter to send to relatives or a Web page.
  • Encourage your children to keep diaries or journals.
  • Have you children write the grocery list or thank you notes!
  • Let your children see you write.
Middle School through High School
  • Set up a 10-minute period twice a week when you and your children communicate only through writing.
  • Encourage your children to use e-mail and chat with friends on the computer under your supervision.
  • Buy a word processing program that includes a grammar checker.
  • Talk about writers and good writing.
  • Ask your children's teachers to give them frequent writing assignments in all their classes.
All Ages
  • Encourage your children to read as it will teach them about sentence structure, grammar, and vocabulary. Good readers become good writers.
  • Show your children that you value their writing. Praise content rather than focusing on errors.
  • Encourage your children to revise and rewrite until they are truly satisfied with the results.
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