No matter what you child's particular areas of interest are, strong writing skills are an important thing to have, especially when it comes time to apply to and attend college. Writing is something everyone learns in school that most of us actually use on a day-to-day basis in adulthood, whether it's an integral part of someone's career or even just when communicating with others regularly via email and social media. Many job applications involve some writing and of course, in college the majority of courses--particularly core classes--are essay intensive. Nevermind if your child wants to go on to pursue an advanced degree. Plus, it's an incredible way to express opinions and creativity, even in informal settings. So how can you help your child become a good writer? Follow the four tips below.
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1. Encourage reading. Honestly the seeds for growing a good writer can be planted from infancy, when you should begin reading to your child daily. Make daily reading a habit in your household from an early age and your children will likely have a much better grasp on how to use language to communicate. Their vocabularies will expand rapidly and they will come to understand the power good, strong writing can have. Whether it's cereal boxes, dictionaries or novels every bit of reading makes a difference. In fact, studies have shown that students who read casually score better on standardized tests.
2. Provide stimulating experiences. Do things with your kids that are thought-provoking and that inspire imagination. Take them to events in which writing has played a key role, like plays and concerts, but also to any place that engages their senses, where they will smell, feel and hear interesting things. Then, ask them to describe their experience to you. If your child learns to express himself well verbally, it will be a lot easier to do it in writing, and stimulating experiences will give him a reason to use his words.
3. Practice makes perfect. From the time your child is physically able, you should encourage her to write during her leisure time. Poetry, journaling, blogging, letter writing--it doesn't matter what, as long as she's doing it. Like with many things, the more often we write, the more comfortable and confident we are doing it. And of course, be sure your child has everything she needs to accomplish her goals--notebooks, pens, pencils, a dictionary, Internet, a working printer and paper, etc.
4. Set an example. You can and should have an active role in the development of your child's writing skills. As parents, we are the first role models for our children. As they grow up watching us write--be it grocery lists, emails, or birthday cards--they will internalize the importance of the skill and come to understand that writing is something that they are expected to do and do well. Even better if you can find a way to show them the impact your writing has. Perhaps sweet notes in lunch boxes would do the trick. Just know that if they don't see you doing it, they are less likely to see its importance.
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