My usual focus has been to build writing skills in younger primary school children, but teens need this even more so, primarily because it helps with better grades, effective correspondence/communication and later to write college applications. A good essay can make or break your child’s potential career.
Read on for tips and guidelines on how to motivate and build up your teen’s writing potential
Building up confidence: Most kids don’t make an invested effort in writing anything because they are too afraid of being judged and put down. The first step is to establish that you won’t judge your teen’s thought process and that making mistakes is okay.
Exposing your child to good literary pieces: When my brother was doing his college essays, I was intrigued with the winning essays of kids who made it to fine colleges the year before in his year book. There are tonnes of good essays online as well. Encouraging reading leads to a better vocabulary.
Good literature has emotion: You need to convince your child to speak from the heart. Many kids don’t even know how to communicate their problems effectively let alone the emotions that stem from those problems. Provide them with good vocabulary words to help. Here is one really good cheat sheet: Primary-Feelings-Chart
A good essay has word play: Similes, metaphors, idioms, alliteration, onomatopoeia, hyperboles, analogies, irony… these help in elevating a good essay to a master piece. For a short idea of what these are check out these cute figurative speech bookmarks: Figurative Language Bookmarks
Also here a few links to have plenty of online fun, and yes it is fun:
Give a purpose: Nothing motivates more than purpose. What is your teen passionate about, let him write about that… cooking? Make a recipe book for family. Handicrafts? Grooming? Carpentry? Whatever your child takes a shine too can be an effective avenue to venture out on for writing. Here is a great online forum for teens to share their literature, they can make writing groups (asking their friends or family to join) and share their work: https://www.booksie.com You will need to make an account but it’s free.
Another great tool is this site that allows you to send an email to yourself at a future date. It could serve as a reminder for your kid to remind himself to keep at it, or whatever really: https://www.futureme.org/
Your child can start his own blog. Blogspot and WordPress are the more popular ones.
Good writing is well-structured: Prompts… they’re great for brainstorming. They help organize the tidal waves of ideas that come into the mind. Real game changer! Here are a few templates. For a story: StoryMapPlotDiagram
For general brainstorming: Brainstorming Template
The final touch: Edit, edit edit. Your teen can make improvements until it clicks. Here is a checklist that may help with this process: Checklist
I cannot emphasize enough how writing effectively can help your child succeed in his academic, professional as well as personal life (can’t hurt to write cute, touching lovable notes). I hope this post has been a help. Drop in a comment with your thoughts.