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Grooming a Writer

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We would all love our child to grow up loving writing and enthusiastic about writing essays. Some children have a natural affinity for writing and would rather write than do anything else. They keep journals and write in them daily. They create their own stories and little books. But, writing is not for everyone. Other children need encouragement. For some, it’s the hardest task to think of what to write and how to write it. Some children dread it. But, the fact is that writing is a lot like learning any other skill. It takes practise. It’s like swimming, playing the piano or painting. It takes a little talent and practise to become good at it. The fact is that if your child is to have a successful education, they need to learn how to write well. They won’t only need the skills to do well in English or other languages. Every subject in school requires students to be able to write and read effectively. It is therefore surprising that there isn’t more focus on teaching and practising writing skills.
Often, our children are not taught writing skills. They are expected to create stories and to be able to write, but there isn’t much time in schools to teach the actual skill. It’s up to the students and parents to learn by looking at mistakes on past papers or tests and to correct them. Certain Enrichment centres offer Creative Writing or Writing classes. But, parents need to be careful which class to enroll in. If your child struggles with basic grammar and spelling, they won’t benefit from writing more and more stories. Time and energy needs to be put into basic English enrichment. Certain courses focus on writing more and more instead of actually teaching writing skills. Children need to learn from their mistakes, so lots of practise is good. But the class should cover writing skills and tips, plus some practise in writing. Be careful of classes where the teacher merely watches the students write.
An effective writing class should cover; brainstorming, planning, story construction and editing. Students tend to write as they speak.

Grammar: They need to learn how to use their best possible English. The correct tone and grammar needs to be considered and used. Students need to realize that the way they speak and the way they write needs to be different.

Styles of writing: Students need practise in the different styles of writing, such as a narrative, a factual report, advertisements, personal recounts, instructions, poetry, continuous stories, pictorial compositions and article writing.

Brainstorming: Often a story will make perfect sense to a child, but when someone else reads the story, it doesn’t make any sense. Often, children get so into their story, they don’t realize that they haven’t explained all the details. That’s where parents need to help. Encourage your child to plan their story. Then read it when they are done and ask them questions regarding the plot. If it doesn’t make sense, ask them to explain. Don’t destroy their imagination, but encourage them to explain more.
Editing: Often, children are so happy that they’ve finished their story, that they putin their last full stop and say ‘Done!’ But, that’s when the hard work actually begins. Children need to be reminded and trained to get into the habit of checking their work once it is done. They have to read it aloud and go through each sentence carefully to make sure that there are no spelling, grammar or punctuation mistakes. They need to check that their story flows and that they have used paragraphs. Does the first paragraph link to the last paragraph and have they stuck to their original idea and topic. Often it’s the simple, silly mistakes that pull students back and that’s where they lose marks.

Handwriting: In a world where we say that it doesn’t matter how neatly you write anymore because we type, it still matters for children. If a teacher can’t read the words, the student will lose marks and part of a possibly brilliant story will be lost on a teacher. Remind you child to write as neatly as possible.

Originality: The hardest part of writing a story is to make sure that your story stays on topic and that it’s original. Tell your child to imagine that they are the teacher and that they are grading hundreds of essays. What will make them sit up and pay attention to your story? How can you make it more interesting than the others? If a teacher is reading the same story over and over again, they’re just going to give a standard grade. Encourage your child to think out of the box and to use their imagination.
Encourage your child to keep a journal. Buy her a special book that she will be proud of keeping. She can write anything that she wants, real or imagined. It’s not only good for mental health but it will improve her writing skills. Take an interest in their writing and encourage her. Do not overlook or criticize her childlike stories. Offer suggestions but do not stifle her imagination. Encourage! Encourage! Encourage!


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