How Can I Help My Child Become A Better Writer ? Here are common steps employed by most teachers, and suggested roles for all involved in the learning process (areas where a parent can be most helpful are in bold type): 1. Generate ideas The teacher has assigned a writing assignment and the student shares the subject with his/her parents. This is a perfect opportunity for the parent to help the child by discussing the topic and helping the child generate ideas. Try to elicit student thoughts and add some of your own, making sure that the student understands the connection between your suggestions and the topic. Urge your child to broaden his/her scope of related ideas. 2. Put ideas on paper This is primarily the province of the classroom and must be the student’s responsibility. The process begins in the classroom as the teacher explains the type of organization necessary for the particular writing style. Introduction, body, and conclusion are each discussed as well as paragraph structure and grammatical conventions. Exercises are often used to enhance understanding, and this aspect of the assignment is likely to be an on-going effort. 3. Self and peer edit Students should read and edit their own work. Most classrooms also feature some sort of guided peer editing, intended to alleviate the most glaring deficiencies in the written product. 4. Adult edit Students are encouraged to seek an adult editor. One of the most effective ways you can help your child edit this assignment is by reading the essay aloud to the student. Read the paper exactly as it is written, include all mistakes and allow the child to discover any weaknesses that exist. Then discuss the writing with the child and offer general suggestions for improvement. In this process it is important to stress the positive elements of his/her writing and make criticisms simply an avenue for improving an already promising product. Spelling, syntax and grammatical errors should be pointed out, but allow the student to find ways to correct those mistakes. Be careful not to change the structure of the student’s writing as you edit. 5. Final Draft The student completes and submits the final draft of the writing assignment.