You have your children writing something every day. Great! Now let’s refine the process. Here our five tips for teaching writing.
First, we really don’t “teach” writing. This is one area where students really must learn for themselves. Yet we obviously do have a role. And that really looks more like mentor than teacher.
Also, writing is a process. We grow as writers as we write. What we require of a new writer will be much different than what we require of a student who has been writing for a number of years.
What does writing something every day look like?
The content of the writing, especially in the beginning, is less important than the fact that the child IS writing. Options could include copywork or writing a draft. Revising or editing a work.
The focus is not so much on what is written as the fact that something is written every day. Writing is given predominant focus during some part of the day.
Timing really doesn’t matter all that much and depends on the teacher/mentor and the student.
Some students prefer to write early and “get it over with.” Others tend to gear up and find a more creative impulse later in the day.
The key is to have at least one period of time regularly scheduled for writing. If it is not scheduled it may not (won’t) happen. If it is scheduled, it is expected (and you will find resistance diminishes).
As mentioned above, the student must do the writing. Remember, it is not YOU who are writing. It is not your work. Your student may not write at all like you would or think he/she should. But it isn’t about you. 🙂
Let the student take his writing in the direction he wants to.
For example, he may have a sudden interest in horses. He could copy, research, write, illustrate, and create booklets about horses for days and weeks or even months on end. But he IS writing. And that is the point.
Frankly, experience shows that using interests that are relevant makes a student’s writing relevant and the process much more enjoyable.
A writer can write anywhere and typically finds the place of preference. However, you do want to have a presence.
Be available — more for encouragement than correction. Better yet, spend your time writing, too. Model writing for your students.
The sky is truly the limit on this one.
In the beginning it is better to let a child just write. Then as he or she matures as a writer, you’ll have opportunities to suggest corrections (the natural way of learning grammar, style, and mechanics). If your student has questions answer them of course, but encourage students to find their own fixes.
How long a student writes is up to you. At first it is better to have one really good line of writing — a perfect sentence — than a page of bad writing. It is also important that a time not be set that makes writing a chore. This will not develop a lifelong writer!
Eventually you will find that your students love to write and will naturally write to express themselves. Then you know you are finished.
10 Ways to Become a Better Editor of Your Child’s Writing
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