How Can Families Help Students Improve Their Writing Skills?
Families are a powerful influence in children's academic development. When family members are involved in student writing projects, students' self-esteem, interest, and language skills improve.
Try using the following strategies outlined in each step of the writing process as your students work on various projects. Encourage family participation by communicating regularly through newsletters and over the telephone by providing positive, direct feedback on individual student accomplishments.
|Writing Process Steps||Strategies|
|1. Brainstorm – Stimulate the flow of ideas by drawing, mapping, or researching.||
A. Nine ideas
B. Make up your own variations on nine ideas
2. Rough Draft – Create the first draft.
A. Name the audience
B. What would they ask?
|3. Revise – Invite someone to read and react to the first draft with specific feedback on content only.||
A. What do you like about my writing?
B. Read it to me, please
C. Create a response sheet
|4. Edit – After students self-correct at least three types of errors, then you can correct spelling, punctuation, and grammar as appropriate for each student.||
A. See what I did?
5. Author's Chair – Students share their work with classmates. Invite family members in to celebrate the completion of a project done well.
A. Ground rules:
B. What do you like?
Have each student take the final draft home and ask a family member to name one or more things he or she especially likes about the piece of writing. Have the students note the family members' responses on the final drafts.
C. Which Do You Like Best?
Handbook for Planning an Effective Writing Program: Kindergarten Through Grade Twelve, by the Handbook Writing Committee under the direction of George F. Nemetz (Consultant in English), California State Department of Education, 1986 edition.
Practical Ideas for Teaching Writing as a Process, compiled and edited by Carol Booth Olson (Codirector, University of California/Irvine/California Writing Project), California State Department of Education, 1987 edition.
Write Source 2000: A Guide to Writing, Thinking, & Learning, written and compiled by Patrick Sebranek, Verne Meyer, Dave Kemper, D. C. Heath and Company, 1995.
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