Helping to improve a child’s writing skills can set the stage for a more successful education and the ability to communicate clearly. Writing is a skill that requires fine motor skills to hold the pencil, clarity of thought to have something to write, and the ability to transfer the thoughts to paper by writing them down. While any one of these areas can be difficult for a child, a parent can help with each step. Hopefully these tips will help if you have suddenly found yourself homeschooling during the current pandemic.
Writing Basics: Holding a Pencil
First, ensure the child can properly hold a pencil. A child who cannot hold a pencil correctly will experience pain while writing and this can cause him to write very little. The thumb, pointer finger and middle finger should work together to hold the pencil. The wrist should be straight and in line with the fore arm. If the wrist is bent, this needs to be corrected.
If the child writes with the left hand, it is especially important to ensure proper hand and wrist position as poor hand positioning can cause poor handwriting.
Encourage Frequent and Creative Writing
Play games to encourage creative thinking. A child who claims to have nothing to write about, needs to be taught to think creatively. One game to play is “once upon a time …” where each member of the family adds one line to the story.
Have children write in journals daily. Daily practice writing will go a long way towards improving writing skills. The children can write about anything in their journals and parents do not have to read the journals. This encourages free thought and expression.
Parents Work With Children to Improve Writing
Improve papers together. When assignments come home from school, parents can sit with the child and work together to add details to the papers or make corrections to them. Ask the child to read the paper aloud and write down several questions or suggestions that the child can use to make improvements.
Have children submit written requests for what they want. This is a great way to improve persuasive writing skills. Children have to articulate what they want, why they want it and why the parents should give it to them. Go over the papers together to ensure the best persuasive argument.
Improving a child’s writing skills takes patience and hard work, but with some careful attention to details, improvements will be seen. Watch for correct hand positioning, foster creative thinking and model editing and revising skills.