Ways to Help Your Child with Writing Assignments

Ways to Help Your Child with Writing Assignments

Ways to Help Your Child with Writing Assignments

Ideas/Overall Writing

  1. Help them identify for whom they are writing the paper (audience)
  2. Make sure the topic is theirs
  3. Talk to your child about the topic they have chosen
  4. Look for unique ideas that are authentic and/or personal
  5. Encourage them to read their masterpiece aloud to you
  6. Watch out for repetition in their writing (particularly with sentence starters)


  1. When reading your child’s paper, please look for their personality shining through
  2. There needs to be a sense of authority in the writing
  3. Look for evidence of interest and enthusiasm in the subject your child is writing about
  4. Have them work to their favorite music


  1. There needs to be a relevant title
  2. If beginning an assignment, help them to brainstorm ideas with lists, clusters, etc. and keep the brainstorm in clear view when writing the first draft
  3. Look for a clear introduction paragraph, body paragraphs and conclusion for essays
  4. Look for an organized structure in the writing
  5. Make sure the assignment addresses all aspects of the writing task
  6. The point of view needs to be consistent
  7. The paper needs to stay focused on the subject
  8. Look for transitions between paragraphs and closings at the end of paragraphs
  9. The essay should progress and flow in a smooth and logical manner


  1. The thesis, or main idea, should be posted in clear view when writing the paper as EVERYTHING should point to, explain, or support the thesis
  2. Support needs to be relevant to the topic and purpose of the essay
  3. Look for things that clearly do not belong
  4. Verbally discuss ways to support the thesis
  5. Encourage using quotations for the support, but make sure the quotation is relevant and explained well


  1. If your child is writing predominately with simple sentences, suggest combining two sentences. This can be done in many ways: with comma and conjunction, with semicolon, as a complex sentence, etc.
  2. Ask the child to “clap” to the rhythm of the paper
  3. Double check to see if sentences begin differently
  4. Ask the child to identify different types of sentences for you: compound, complex, etc.

Word Choice

  1. Circle words in the essay that could be more vivid and rich
  2. Circle words that are repetitive
  3. Shift F7 in Word goes to the thesaurus
  4. Play a synonym game in the car
  5. Get a thesaurus
  6. Look for fun vocabulary books with pictures and cartoons
  7. Find some word of the day websites


  1. Ask your child to read his/her paper aloud. The ears will catch what the eyes may miss
  2. If your student asks you to spell a word, encourage them to look it up in the dictionary, or guide them through sounding out and spelling the word for him/herself
  3. Encourage re-writes of edited and graded versions of the paper
  4. If you help edit a paper, explain why you suggested the correction. Please do not rewrite the paper for your child
  5. Enforce the importance of spelling correctly
  6. Watch out for a punctuation overload (like more than one question mark or exclamation mark: ?!?! or !!! or ???)