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    Help My Child Become

    a Better Writer

    Compiled by:

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    Table of Contents

    Boost My Kid's Writing Skills

    Help Find Topic Ideas for My Teen's Writing Assignments

    Improve Writing Skills with Fun Family Activities

    Help My Teen Edit and Revise Writing Assignments

    Help My High School Senior Know How to Write a College Admissions Essay

    Why Is Writing Important in a Digital World?

    www.EduGuide2 ONLINE EDUGUIDE

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    Help My Child Become a Better WriterDo I need this EduGuide?

    Yes, if your kids need help with middle school or high school writing skills or are struggling with writing lessons and assignments.

    This EduGuide will also help if you want to encourage a teen who loves writing to further develop his or her skills.

    How does it work?

    l Quizzes help you know where you stand.

    l Articles give you the background information you need to make a decision.

    l ShortCuts help you take immediate action. Choose one or go through them all.

    What will I learn?

    l Why writing continues to be an important skill for everyone

    l Activities that will help your teen improve writing skills and develop topic ideas

    l How to support your teens writing by teaching editing and revising skills

    l College essay tips for your high school student

    Quick Solutions

    l What can I do in fifteen minutes? Select an activity from the ShortCut "Improve Writing Skills with Fun Family Activities" and have

    you and your child (or the whole family) do it at the same time.

    l What can I do in an hour? Choose one of the activities from Boost My Kids Writing Skills or Help Find Topic Ideas for My

    Teen's Writing Assignments and do the activity together.

    www.EduGuide3 ONLINE EDUGUIDE

    http://www.eduguide.org/Parents/Library/Detail/tabid/304/id/2507/Topics-for-Teens-Writing-Assignments.aspxhttp://www.eduguide.org/Parents/Library/Detail/tabid/304/id/2509/Boost-My-Kids-Writing-Skills.aspxhttp://www.eduguide.org/Parents/Library/Detail/tabid/304/id/2516/Improve-Writing-Skills-Fun-Family-Activities.aspx
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    Boost My Kid's Writing SkillsWhether your kid is in middle school or high school, writing is important in almost all classes. Help improve kids writing skills using

    the following activities:

    l Write often. As with any skill, writing gets better the more we do it. Let your kids see you write often and encourage them to

    write often, too. At-home writing might include emails, instant messaging, thank-you notes, scrapbook descriptions, diaries,

    and whats-for-dinner notes.

    l Find different audiences. We write differently for each audience. Encourage kids to expand their range and abilities by writing

    for many different audiences. They could try a letter to the editor or to a legislator, a silly story for a younger sibling, or a list of

    ten to cheer up a sick friend.

    l Have fun. Language play and writing can be fun. Have fun with language yourself and share that sense of play with your

    teenager. Point out new words and phrases you come across in the newspaper or on the radio share favorite song lyrics get

    creative in naming a new pet or writing humorous gift tags or cards.l Support your budding writer. If your child chooses to share some writing with you, point out specifically what you like best

    about the piece. Rejoice in effort, delight in ideas, and resist the temptation to be critical. Maybe youll want to ask them to read

    the piece aloud. Feel free to ask questions about parts that arent clear, but leave the answering of those questions to your

    child. Make it clear that you are always interested in reading any writings that he wants to share with you.

    l Read. While its true we learn to write by writing, we also learn to write by reading. Offer your kids a wide variety of opportunities

    to read, both educational and entertaining, and pass on your own favorite authors, novels, and magazines to show them youre

    a reader, too. Talk about those things youve read.

    l Explore. The funny thing about writing is that it actually helps the writer think. Encourage your child to use writing to think more

    deeply about lifequestions, problems, difficult assignments, hobbies, and topics she wants to learn more about.

    l Breaking Writers Block. We all have trouble getting started once in a while. If this happens to your young writer suggest he try

    brainstorming, jotting lists of ideas, or talking through his thoughts with you or a friend. Sometimes just spending 15 minutes

    writing anything and everything (including I dont know what to write.) loosens up the very ideas needed for the piece.

    l Take ownership. Good writers know how to make any topic their own. They do that in the way they organize their ideas, in the

    examples they choose, and in the angle, as well as by drawing from their own experiences. Encourage your teen to find waysto make the assigned topic his own.

    l Edit and revise. Writing is a process of developing and drafting ideas, then revising, and, finally, editing for correct grammar

    and spelling. Help your kid see the value of clarifying ideas, drafting, and revising before tweaking the mechanics like spelling

    and punctuation.

    l Keep a notebook. Provide a special writing folder or notebook for your kid and encourage him to save writings in it. Nothing can

    replace the good feeling of reading something we wrote months ago and rediscovering how good it is.

    Source: National Council of Teachers of English Guideline, used with permission from the NCTE.

    www.EduGuide4 ONLINE EDUGUIDE

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    Help Find Topic Ideas for My Teen's Writing AssignmentsChoosing a Strong Topic Can Help Improve Writing Skills, Grades

    Sometimes the most difficult part of a teens writing assignment is figuring out what to write about. If your teen needs essay writing

    help, you can point them in the right direction with some of these topic idea generators.

    Use Graphic Organizer Writing Tools

    Most graphic organizers are based on mind mapping. Mind maps are diagrams that are used to pull ideas out of a central key word.

    They can be used for teaching creative thinking skills, for brainstorming ideas, to help classify ideas, and to generate detail for writing.

    While there are many types of mind maps and graphic organizer writing tools, try this one for starters: Have your teen write a word atthe top of a paper. The word should be related to the general subject that he is supposed to be writing about (for example: American

    colonial history, chemical reactions, literary heroines in the 15th century). Then have her draw four lines down from it and write four

    smaller topics (for example: Boston Tea Party, Minutemen, Native American relations, trapping and trade). Then have them choose the

    one topic that interests them the most and draw three more lines out that breaks the subject down further. Have them continue this

    until they have a topic that is focused and specific. A common problem is choosing topics that are too broad for a typical school writing

    assignment.

    Use Brainstorming Techniques

    There are several brainstorming techniques that can be used to help a teen generate topics for a writing assignment. Three useful

    ones include:

    l Listing. Select an idea or key term related to the writing assignment. As quickly as possible, list as many items or words that

    relate to that topic. Then go back and pick items that might be useful as a topic idea.

    l Freewriting. Using an egg timer or a cell phone alarm, set a short time limit such as 10 or 15 minutes. Have your student write

    whatever comes to mind on the topic at hand. Have her put the writing away for a little while and then come back to it to pick out

    ideas that could be used as a topic.

    l Reference Books. Ask your teen to write key ideas or terms from the writing assignment. Then have her use dictionaries,

    encyclopedias, thesauruses, or any handy reference work related to the topic to randomly look for entries that trigger useful

    ideas. This can also work with an Internet search engine by typing in key related terms.

    Pack a Time Capsule for Teen Writing Topics

    Ask your teen what she would put in a time capsule that would be opened 20 years from now that would show the future what life is

    like now. Then have her look at the list of items and write a short paragraph about why that item would be included. Suggest that sheexpand upon one of those paragraphs for a full-length writing assignment that explores why something is important.

    Turn to Photo Albums for Teens with a Visual Learning Style

    Pull out a photo album or a coffee table art book. Or have your student type a word relating to the subject into Google and choose the

    images results. Encourage him to look through the images and write two or three words per image. Tell him to see whether he can

    develop topic ideas from the pictures. For example, a photo of someone playing the saxophone might inspire them to think of such

    topics as the history of jazz, how music has helped New Orleans recover from Katrina, music therapy techniques, or the latest

    advances in acoustics technology.

    www.EduGuide5 ONLINE EDUGUIDE

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    Turn on the iPod for a Teen with an Auditory Lea