One of the main challenges of parenting is awakening the child’s desire to learn, explore, discover, and express. Sure, we can leave the education part to the teachers and the iPad, but is that the right solution? No! Sometimes, parents have to interfere. It’s their job to be the first teachers their children will ever have.
As your children make progress through different educational levels, they will be expected to write. A lot! College and university, in particular, are heavily linked to academic writing. Your kid will have to write essays, research papers, term papers, and, hopefully, an entire dissertation. The first challenge is an essay.
The teacher assigns an essay with broad guidelines, and your little student is expected to deliver a masterful piece by a precise deadline. You’ll probably face a very frustrated child at this point. Your kid is supposed to write an entire paper, but no one taught them how to do that. Maybe they were writing short stories before, but an essay is a whole other thing. How do you help them write a perfect paper? There are 5 steps to success.
Practice, practice, practice!
A professor of education at Arizona State University reviewed around 250 studies on how to help students develop writing skills. Professor Steve Graham was trying to answer the age-old question: is it best to leave students to learn writing naturally, or do they achieve better results when they get instructions? He found that effective practices do help with the progress. Here’s the first tip he gives: spend more time writing.
The writing practice is not applied in the classroom. Teachers may give brief exercises, but what they prefer doing is using the classroom time for lessons and leaving the practice part as a homework activity. So, you’re in charge of that part of your kid’s education.
If you want your kid to write great essays, you need to motivate them to write a lot. Think of a theme of the day. What did they learn today? Did they learn about the solar system? Set a topic: “If you could visit any planet, which one would you choose? How do you imagine life there?” The following day, set a realistic topic: “Do research on Africa. Write about the way animals live there.”
Make sure these topics are interesting for your kid.
An essay usually consists of 5 paragraphs: an introduction, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Teachers usually explain what each paragraph is supposed to contain when assigning the first essay to the class. However, sometimes they forget to provide examples, so the students have no idea how the actual paper would look like.
At the website of any essay writing service, you’ll find great guidelines and samples of various types of papers. Give few of them to your kid to read, and help them envision what a proper essay looks like.
Use Pinterest to organize resources
Pinterest is a really fun tool for creating visual material you find on the web. Parents like using it for collecting parenting tips, home decor ideas, photos of beautiful clothes, and much more. Now, you can start creating special boards for your kid’s essays.
The essay writing process starts with good research. Before your child can write a paper on a topic, they need to learn something about it. They won’t be able to memorize all information they read online. Moreover, they will need to save the resources, so they can reference them in the paper. That’s why Pinterest is a great tool to use during this stage. Whenever you find an interesting source of information, pin it in the relevant board.
Once your kid is inspired enough through the online material you both located, they can proceed to the following stage.
Brainstorm and plan
One of the main requirements for an essay is cohesion. If you assign a topic and let your kid write whatever comes to his or her mind, you’ll end up reading a disconnected essay that the teacher won’t like. That’s why it’s important to start the process with brainstorming and planning.
- MindMeister is one of the most effective online brainstorming tools. If your kid is not that good at using the computer, you can create the map as he or she comes up with ideas. The mind maps created with this tool are highly visual, and they help the user find connections between the arguments.
- When the writer-to-be gets the main ideas through the brainstorming process, it’s time for planning. Essay Map is a great tool that helps fit those ideas in a proper essay structure. It asks the writer to create a few sentences for each section of the paper, and then it offers a map for the essay. After that, it will be really easy to connect the dots and write the actual paper.
Let them use the tablet
Does your kid think that the tablet is much more fun than plain pen-and-paper? That’s okay. We’re dealing with tech generation, after all. You can use your child’s preference for technology to inspire him or her to write. Byword is a great text editor for iPad. It makes the process of writing clean and simple, and it has a neat markdown feature.
To make the essay writing process more fun, you can use Bamboo Paper – an app that simulates the process of writing with a real pen on a real paper.
Beware: the process won’t be easy. Your kid will likely show some resistance to essay writing. What’s the best method to fight resistance? Persistence! Inspire your kid to practice more, but think of more amusing topics every time. When you manage to turn writing into a daily routine, the success will be inevitable.
Karen Dikson is a teacher and a writer from New Jersey. Her works have been published on Huffington Post and other well-known educational resources. She loves to help her students succeed and achieve their goals. Connect with Karen on Twitter
Follow the Parent Toolkit on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Essay Topics for Kids That Help Sharpen Their Writing Skills
~ My Favorite Sport
~ My Last Holiday
~ The Pet that I would Like to Have
~ What if I had Super Powers
~ My Mother/Father
~ Things I Like to do During My Pastime
~ The Most Special Day of My Life
~ The Person I Admire the Most
~ The First Day in My New School
~ A Dream I had Last Night
~ My Most Memorable Birthday
~ Qualities Required to Become a President
~ My Favorite TV Show
~ Things that I am Afraid of
~ A View from my Window
~ Living at a Bus Stop
~ My Favorite Food
~ My Hobby
~ What Will I Do When I Grow Up?
~ If I Became an Animal
~ If I Became Invisible
~ If I had a Magic Pen
~ If I Become Rich
~ What Makes Me Special?
~ An Eventful Day in My Life
~ If I Had Three Wishes, What Would I Wish For?
~ All The Things I Want to Do
~ What Would I Do If I Became Invisible for a Day?
~ My Space Adventure
~ A Rainy Day I Spent Alone
~ Effect of Technology on Human Beings
~ Should Smoking in Public Be Banned?
~ Harmful Effects of Plastic Bags
~ How do Humans Affect the Environment
~ Reasons we Love Chocolate
~ Pros and Cons of Zoos
~ Is Destruction of Forests Affecting the Earth
~ Harmful Effects of Video Games
~ Is it Right to Kill Animals for Food and Clothing?
~ Should Bullying be Supported?
~ Is Learning a Foreign Language Really Important?
~ Global Warming and Deforestation
~ Should the Government Ban Hunting?
~ 10 Pros and Cons of Capital Punishment
~ Are School Uniforms Good or Bad Idea
~ Are Exams Making Way for Too Much Stress for Children?
~ How Much is too Much homework
~ Home is the best place to Spend a Thanksgiving Holiday
~ Cell Phones for Kids - Pros and Cons
~ Should Mothers Work or Stay at Home?
~ Animals Should Not be Caged
~ Can you Live Without Television?
~ Harry Potter Books vs. Harry Potter Movies
~ American English vs. British English
~ Comparing two video games
~ Comparing two books
~ Comparison between two music genres
~ Comparing two athletes/sports figures
~ Comparing two restaurants
~ Comparison between two ways to spend a holiday (going out vs. staying at home)
~ Urban Living vs. Rural Living
~ Being Rich vs. Being Famous
~ Childhood vs. Teenage
~ Comparing two famous personalities
~ Your Real Home vs. Your Dream Home
~ Living on campus vs. Living off campus
~ Autobiography of a pen
~ Autobiography of a tree
~ Autobiography of an animal/bird
~ Autobiography of a flower
~ Autobiography of a princess
~ Autobiography of a river
~ What would you do with all the Halloween candies that you collected this year?
~ Convincing parents for a picnic
~ Planning a surprise party for Dad
~ What would you do if you found yourself in the land of Lilliput?
~ Inventing an animal
~ How would you like to decorate your room?
~ If I were the Mayor
~ If I were the President
~ If I were a billionaire
~ If I were a tree
~ If I were a devil/an angel