How to Help Your Kids with Writing Homework

Parents often ask me, “What can I do to help my children with their writing homework?”

This is an area of genuine concern for the parents I deal with because, for many of them, English is not their mother tongue.

Fortunately, there are things parents can do to help their children with writing, and these are steps any parent can take, even those who aren't fluent in English themselves.

Reread: Have your children read over their compositions once they’re done writing them. Many errors in a written work are careless ones and can be easily spotted and fixed, even by third graders. The students just need to take the time and do it.

Read aloud: After rereading and revising the composition, have your child read the work out loud. This will uncover more errors, and will give the writer a better idea of how the words and ideas flow in the text.

If possible, have your child read the composition to the whole family -- at mealtime, for example. This will make your child want to do a good job (your kid will be the center of attention!), and will also give other members of the family a chance to help the writer.

If something sounds strange, just ask your child, “Does that make sense to you?”

Proofread: After rereading, revising, reading it aloud and revising it again, have your child look the assignment over one last time. It is critical the writer do this because every time you change or fix something in a text you might make further errors. A final proofread will ensure that all your child’s hard work won’t go to waste.

As you may have noticed, none of the above steps require much effort from you. You are simply encouraging your kids to read and revise their own work. Proper revision and proofreading skills are a necessary part of every good writer’s toolkit, and will serve your children well throughout life.

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Lester Gesteland is the owner of Tiger Workshops Learning Center in Metuchen, New Jersey. A former foreign correspondent and book editor, Gesteland has been teaching for more than 10 years. Call (908) 510-5982 or visit TigerWorkshops.com to find out about writing, reading and math workshops for your child.

Tel: (908) 510-5982 Tiger Workshops Learning Center 280 Amboy Avenue, 2nd Floor Metuchen, NJ 08840

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