You look at your child’s answer sheet or essay in disbelief; it appears quite clumsy and annoying. It is not neatly presented. You notice a lot of spelling and grammatical errors. The sentences are not cogent. The handwriting, overall, is far from satisfactory. You begin to wonder why your child’s writing is so poor. You are worried that unless your child’s writing improves, it will become very difficult for your child academically in later years.
Good, formal writing is vitally important for your child to get good marks and grades throughout the academics and also for successes later on in life. It is also a true reflection of your child’s intellectual capacities, clarity in thinking and ability with words. A solid foundation in thorough and formal writing skills must be laid in the early years, to last a life time. In these modern times, however, opportunities to get into the habit of good writing are dwindling, as children are drawn more and more towards text messaging in whatsApp, cell phones, twitter, face book etc.
So, what can you do to improve this essential skill in your child?
1) The prerequisite for good writing is a good reading habit. Encourage your child to develop interest in reading for fun in a wide variety of topics and themes that hook them up. As the child reads, he/she is able to grasp the right way of written expression and learn the right words at the right places. As the child comes across new words, look them up in the dictionary to understand the correct meaning and the context with which it is written, the child’s vocabulary builds up; he/she is able to then draw from the memory store and find the right words while writing. Spelling and grammatical errors reduce, the sentence pattern is better planned and structured and the presentation improves as the child reads more and more.
2) The child should be encouraged to think deeply and mentally figure out what is to be written in a planned manner, before starting to write. What is written must be accurate and supported with facts that the child is aware of. Taking just a few minutes to collect the thoughts in a focused manner before writing will tremendously improve your child’s writing in tests and exams. You should encourage your child to develop these skills.
3) Wherever the scope exists, the child must be taught to take time, revise the written content, edit and rewrite to improve the quality. When done with patience on a regular basis, your child’s writing ability will vastly improve.
4) As a parent, you should give challenging written assignments and encourage the child to expand his/her imagination to write on topics of great interest. Sources for picture based story writing and other age appropriate topics are available in the internet and you can take help from there. You may also check out with our daycare centre to know how we go about imparting writing skills to young kids up to 10 years.
5) Let your child understand the important elements of a good written content, like a good title, introduction, description of relevant details, conclusions etc. The child must take care to include all the elements as per requirement and adequately address all aspects expected to be featured in the written content.
Remember, writing is not like learning to ride a bicycle, where a little learning of balancing is all there is to learn, once, to master it. Writing skills learnt in the initial years as a foundation have to be built upon and honed further on a continuing basis. You must also have patience and wait for the writing skills to blossom gradually in your child.
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