How to teach your children essay writing in 5 steps
When you sit down to teach your children essay writing you might not initially know where to begin. Essay writing is the cornerstone of any education and half or more of the subjects your kids are likely to tackle in their school lifetime will require essay writing skills.
Writing tips for kids are something that will take them from being a mediocre student to one that shines. Confidence when writing is something that can truly be learned – very few people are born with this important skill. That’s good news, in fact. Like anything worthwhile doing, all great writing takes is practice and dedication.
How to inspire your kids to love writing
It’s true: Your kids may not be thrilled when they are first faced with an essay writing task, but writing skills are very important for their future educational and emotional development. The most important thing to keep in mind is that children might initially have difficulties in expressing themselves. That’s OK!
Teaching your children essay writing might seem like it requires a lot of effort on your behalf – but it needn’t! Here’s a basic, step by step guide to get you on your way to helping out your children with their essay writing skills. This easy list will equip you with all the things you need to do to help your children improve their grades at school and contribute to their future. It’s so important to teach your children essay writing. Here’s how.
Teach Your Children Essay Writing in 5 Steps
Step 1: Start with basics
Lots of kids aren’t great with grammar. Grammar takes time to learn and many parents and guardians simply don’t correct their young children enough, which is doing them a disservice. Some parents might even find these little mistakes cute, funny or charming – but that’s where very young children get into trouble later in life.
Some common grammatical errors made by children are listed by writer Amanda Morin here. Phrases like, ““I goed to the store with Daddy so we could buy traps to catch the mouses,” or, “I’d rather have cookies then cake.”
You need to correct your children and equip them with the basics of spelling and grammar. You don’t have to deliver a massive lecture on writing concepts or run the whole grammar gauntlet in one day. Do this step by step, correct them gently when they make a mistake and select grammar and spelling practices which are appropriate for their grade, age, and essay requirements.
Step 2: Create an outline
When spending time with young children we can see them struggling to find the correct words when speaking; this is even more apparent when they’re tasked with writing. The vast majority of children are not initially confident when expressing their thoughts on paper, so it’s an important step to teach your children essay writing in a sensible way.
To help your children with essay writing, teach them how to create a structure of the message or story they want to tell. When they perfect this, creating an outline for an essay becomes easier. Once your kids understand “logical context”, their mission is half accomplished. Impart the importance of structure: an introduction, body of the essay (including arguments and structured thoughts), and a well-thought out conclusion. Have them practise with something fun, such as an age appropriate story or fairytale.
Step 3: Provide examples and practise a lot
Give your kids examples! Children work better when they have some examples of what they are trying to do lying in front of them. This tactic, called “learning by example”, will help your children get more ideas about creating their own essay papers.
Work on these together and add some creativity to the task. If your kids are young, find fun examples of coordinated text and ask them to point out what structure a piece of writing has – for example, where the beginning, middle and end is. Make sure you don’t overload your kids with tasks either; do the work in small bursts and keep them engaged. Reward them with something fun, such as stickers or colourful pens, or even a new book or two.
Step 4: Don’t push your kids too much
Essay writing is a very hard and complex task; even most adults find it challenging! Striving for perfection is never the best way to get your children immersed in a writing task. Give them plenty of breaks and lots of encouragement. When they make an error, make sure you are gentle with them so you don’t affect their confidence levels. Setting them up for success in this way will give them more confidence at school. Praise them when they do well and offer positive reinforcement.
Step 5: Read to your children and encourage them to read on their own
It should go without saying but all great writers started as readers. Make reading fun! When kids are little (even from when they are babies) read to them: fairy tales, interesting stories and books designed for kids.
Find out what subjects your kids love; they might surprise you! Do they love dinosaurs, science, bugs, or stories about witches and wizards? Choose age appropriate books that they will find a genuine interest in.
When you are reading to your children, you’ll notice that they’ll definitely catch some words out of the text, and even remember them almost perfectly. This increases their word capacity and vocabulary. Educate your children to love reading on their own. Give them a couple of different books of one or two genres, and ask their opinions.
Essay writing skills help children throughout their school lives
It’s true – writing can be as difficult a subject to teach and assess as it is to learn and for this reason, you, as a parent, need a lot of patience while teaching your children. Remember to enjoy your time together and build a stronger rapport with your kids. This is where parent involvement can make a big difference to their learning outcomes.
When you teach your children essay writing you are giving them a lifelong skill. Encouraging your children to develop strong writing skills at a young age is worthwhile and may make all the difference to their future school success. Essay writing skills can have a lifelong positive impact on a child’s writing and may make essay writing an easier and more enjoyable process throughout their lives.
Essay writing skills for pre-teens and teens
Once your children reach the age of ten, their essay writing needs may ramp up as school requires more of them. However, some students still struggle with essay writing skills in junior or primary school with one study revealling, that “even with spell check and a thesaurus on hand, just 27% of students are able to write well-developed essays with proper language use.”
It might be worthwhile to encourage older children to seek out help and to gain lots of feedback. Advise them to break tasks down into workable sections and give themselves ample time to complete tasks. Use these 12 tips to create a school essay when you get stuck.
12 tips on creating an essay outline and plan
- Before you begin: Clearly and carefully read the essay task before you begin
- Beginning, middle & end: Think about narrative, structure and formatting; and then create a writing plan
- Experts: Remember to include arguments from expert references and highlight your main points with examples
- Individual expression: Express your own individual thoughts on the essay topic, framed in context of the wider narrative
- Problem solving: Look to solve problems that arise in different, unique ways (think ‘outside the square’)
- Thoroughness: Analyse what is required of you and ensure the task has been covered end-to-end
Most school essay requirements are similar, when you break them down to their bare elements. Master these simple points:
- Cover a topic fully: make sure you consider all relevant arguments and include a sufficient number of individual ideas, based on your research.
- Be critical! Edit out all info that isn’t necessary to the final draft and be select only the most important arguments for your final essay.
- Annotate: Find evidence and examples; use thorough research from accredited sources.
- Planning: Preparing a plan will help you write logically and consistently as well as adhere to the overall essay structure.
- Proofing: Avoid mistakes; proofread your content at least twice before submitting.
- Formatting & flow: Make sure you include a strong introduction and satisfying conclusion.