10 Ways to Improve Your Child’s Writing Skills

If your kids are like mine, they don’t take well to their parents giving them advice on much of anything — academics, athletics, you name it. In many ways, I am thankful for this. My kids are independent and have learned to do their homework on their own.

But I had to step in recently to help my middle schooler with a term paper that needed a lot of help. I started with my red pen, crossing out sentences and circling misspelled words. Needless to say, it didn’t go well. I ended up buying him a book on Amazon.com on “how to write a good term paper,” put it on his desk and hoped he would read it. So much for parental guidance.

According to Robert Menzimer, executive director of the Oakland, California-based Writer Coach program, which provides one-on-one tutoring to help students develop writing and critical thinking skills, many parents feel completely at sea about offering writing support. “Math assignments? No problem. Science projects? Absolutely. An essay for English? Lemme out of here!” says Menzimer.

And based on his many conversations over the years with adults at our volunteer recruiting booths, it’s not hard to see why: adults are often as freaked out about writing as kids are. “They (adults) are fraught with anxiety over what they perceive as their lack of writing skills,” says Menzimer, “and say they’ve been plagued by this anxiety their whole lives, including into their professions.”

So how do you help your child with writing? Here are a few tips:

Adopt a coach’s role. According to Menzimer, a coach’s role is different than that of a parent. As a parent, you need to stifle the urge to correct your child’s writing. Rather, start by asking her what she feels she needs help with. In so doing, you are validating her ability to do some critical analysis…

Read More: Samantha Parent Walravens, huffingtonpost.com

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