Most kids, I’m sure you would agree, will search high and low to escape writing a paragraph or essay or story. It’s quite a chore, a loathed and detested piece of written work any kid would not wish upon his oppressor/bully at school. I used get boos and awws as well. So I asked myself, I can either instill the love or at least the willingness in my students to attempt to write. For that I needed to know what it was that instigated such negativity within them. I’m no psychologist, but if careful observation and gut feelings count, I came to the following conclusions:
1. Most kids don’t even know WHAT to do when told to do a written essay, how to begin, story sequencing, characters, settings, plot, cause and effect, even paragraph and sentence structure. These essential skills are mostly absent. It’s like asking a blind man to describe the sky. Some kids are not even familiar with the terms. You can not expect a cake to be ready without going through the necessary steps.
2. Therefore the task often does not come up to the expectations of the teacher and they can never quite appease anybody- despite their sincerest efforts.
3. Grades are the end game.
4. Essential tools that actually fulfill the role of beautifying any piece of writing like adjectives and adverbs, the eight figures of speech are taught as a separate entity. Kids have no idea how to implement said tools into their actual writing.
5. The practical side of writing is never emphasized. The children never think that writing can be a means of effective communication, or that letter writing has practical applications, or even that writing can be therapeutic as it is for me.
The question then becomes, what can parents do about it? Well if you take time to reflect, it’s all about overcoming these mental barriers. Here are tiny tips:
1. Do not force your child to write. Instead read age appropriate books to your kids and inspire them that they too can write like their favourite author. Explore the lives of authors, bring human nature into the equation.
2. Guide gently. Start little by little. First work on making better sentences. Click here to find out how.
3. Then start them on paragraph formation. Explain that every paragraph has a main idea, 3 or 4 supporting details and then a sentence at the end called a clincher which brings everything together. Here is a fun online game to practice the concept of the main idea. Here is also a great worksheet to enforce the concept.MainIdeaandDetailsFREEBIETwoPassages
4. Then come to story building. Here is a template that can make your life much easier. Story Organizer 5 .
5. Children love metaphors, idioms and similes. There are tonnes out there on the net. Teach children to appreciate these, along with using adjectives before nouns and adverbs with verbs. Just remind them to use these. Here are a couple of lists to get you started:
When the children start to get the hang of it, watch them write master pieces.
Hope this was a help.