Writing is an essential skill for this generation. Email, texting, written reports … A facility with language can only be a good thing. Since strong writing shares several traits, the good news is that even if writing isn’t your thing, there are still many things you can do to help your child become a strong writer. We’ll take them one at a time over the next several weeks.
One of the simplest traits of good writing is the effective use of DETAILS. Tell about a dog who is nice and a good pal and you’ve told about a dog. Tell about a dog who throws and chases her own ball, stays by your side when you’re feeling sick, and meets you at the mailbox after school and you’ve told me about your dog.
You can help your child notice and include details by asking them questions when they’re telling you about their day. Was the room warm or cool? Were the kids sitting or standing? What subject were they working on? What were the other kids wearing? A headband? Snazzy sneakers? Crazy socks? The idea is to have your child create a picture in your mind, a picture that matches with what really happened.
The perfect tool for this? The effective use of detail.
You don’t have to be a wonderful writer to do this with your child. All you have to do is take fifteen minutes to ask about her day and pick one part to hear about in detail. Prompt her for more information until you reach the point where you can describe the event back to her and have her tell you it’s correct.
The more often you take the time to do this, the better your child will become at this. The better he is at this, the richer his writing will be.
So – Want to help your child become a strong writer? Encourage him to use details.