Things You Can Do to Help Your Students to Become a Better Writers C. Kennedy ~ Literacy Resource Specialist Write, Too • • • • • • • Provide writing materials. Provide a print-rich environment. Extend their vocabulary. Write notes. Write together. Create a photo album or scrapbook. Encourage letters. Remember- Not All Writing Is Pen to Paper, or Fingers on the Keyboard! Writing is Thinking You can support your child’s writing skills not only through actual reading/writing activities, but by helping them to become clear and organized thinkers. • • • • • Ideas Organization Voice Word Choice Conventions Ideas • Ideas make up the content of the piece of writing • Ideas are the heart of the message. • Free ideas ~ Help your child with selecting an idea or topic that they really care about. • Writer’s Notebook ~ A tool for students to jot down interesting tidbits. • Prompt Ideas ~ Urge your child to try different kinds of writing such as narratives, poetry, or expository writing. Organization • How a piece is structured or ordered Introduction ~ A statement that hooks the reader. Middle ~ Statements that include details that are logically organized. Conclusion ~ An ending that leaves the reader satisfied. • Without organization the thing that happened first would be last • All organizational activities take planning. • Where to begin, what to do next, and how to make the whole thing come together. • Setting the table, putting together on an outfit to wear, or planning a trip are things that we do in our lives. Voice • Voice is often misunderstood. • The writer’s own special, personal style come through in the words. • Voice is said to be the fingerprints of the writer on the page. • Voice is how the writing draws the reader in, speaks to the reader at an emotional level, and creates a bond between reader and writer. • It is the heart and soul of writing. • The writer takes risks by revealing the person behind the writing when they use voice. Word Choice • The knack for choosing the “just right” word to get the message across. • Word choice is about the use of rich, colorful, precise language that communicates in a way that moves and enlightens the writer. • Descriptive Writing ~ Uses strong word choice that clarifies and expands on ideas • Persuasive Writing ~Moves the reader to have a new vision of things • Narrative Writing ~ Creates images in your mind that are real and make the reader feel like they are a part of the writing. Sentence Fluency • The rhythm and sound of the writing as it is read aloud. • The words need to sound just right as the writer intended the writing to sound. • Sentences are well built and they move. • Strong sentence fluency contains creative phrasing, parallel construction, alliteration, and word order that allows the reading to be natural. Conventions • • • • • Spelling Grammar and Usage Capitalization Paragraph Indentation Punctuation Presentation • The way it is put together to make you want to READ it. • Handwriting is neat and legible. • Carefully chosen fonts. • The finished writing makes the writer proud to share it. Keep It Positive! • Be an excited listener. • Celebrate even the simplest attempts of beginning writers. • Be a team. • Be the coach- not the writer. • Focus on ideas first- then editing References • Culham R. (2003) . 6+1 Traits of Writing. New York: Scholastic Professional Books. • Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory. (1998) Dear Parent, A Handbook for Parents of Six Trait Writing Students. Portland, Oregon: Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory.