Helping Kids Learn to Write

Helping Kids Learn to Write

Helping Kids Learn to Write

Writing is a valuable skill. Though formal letter writing on paper has died out, correspondence via email and other mediums is just as strong as ever. Helping kids learn to write well, or at least convey a thought or idea effectively, is necessary no matter what your profession.

For kids, learning to write well can be incredibly useful in their academic career. Especially since they will surely have to write papers and complete their homework effectively. However, writing can also lead to a hobby as well as increase their reading skills.

As we all know reading and writing are intrinsically linked. Being able to read well and understand concepts can help kids become better and more effective writers, and vice versa. With young kids, it helps to start small and simple, just like you would with reading. Here are some practical tips parents and guardians can try to get their kids into writing and make them better writers.

The Right Instruments

Just like how introducing babies to cardboard or fabric books can get kids acquainted with books as objects, picking out big, fun writing instruments can have the same effect.  You’ll first want to get kids acquainted with writing out or tracing letters. Safe options for younger children can include big pieces of chalk to draw with on the sidewalk or board. You can even get a little messy with paintbrushes or finger paints. Making this fun can be a great introduction to writing.

Start Small

Once your child has gotten the grasp of writing, they can move onto other writing tools. Golf pencils (smaller and easier to grip for small hands) or crayons are a great beginning. These tools are generally easier for kids to work with while they get used to the act of writing.

Personalized Activity Books

Getting the Hang of Things

As kids learn how to write out full sentences, they may need practice keeping their letters uniform and their spaces between words consistent. There are special kinds of paper that have traceable letters and other helpful tools such as personalized activity books for kids to get used to. To help with spaces between letters, they can use stamps, their fingers, or even colored crayons they aren’t using to act as placeholders while they write.

Becoming Better Writers

As kids get older, their homework may include instructions for providing long-form answers whether they be a single sentence to a paragraph. When kids are at this age or writing level, it helps to boost their communication skills. Encourage them to keep a journal or to write their own stories. This can help them develop effective communication skills via writing, and they can get used to expressing their thoughts, feelings, and ideas through written words.

How to Deal with Reading Comprehension Challenges

Reading Comprehension Difficulty

Reading Comprehension Difficulty

What is Reading Comprehension

Reading isn’t just about recognizing words and spelling them out, it involves understanding the words and the overall message, too. Kids can understand the process of reading, but can still experience reading comprehension difficulty, that is, understanding what it is they just read once they’re finished.

Reading comprehension is a huge part of reading and it plays an intrinsic role in a child’s academic life, too. Reading comprehension is important in all subjects, not just Language Arts.

Understanding text is vital for subjects like history, math and science. With textbooks, homework handouts, and more, it is important that children are not only able to read but are able to understand what it is they are reading.

How to Handle Reading Comprehension Difficulties

One way to help kids engage with what they are reading is to ask questions. When reading to your child as well as with them, ask them a question or two before turning the page. See what they think about the story and the characters.

If they have difficulty answering the question, more work may need to be done, but some kids may be encouraged to pay more attention while reading if you actively ask them questions.

Sometimes, kids may not be able to answer questions right away because they are not used to thinking critically, especially if most of their brain power is being used to identify words and sound out letters. But as kids become better readers, answering these sorts of questions should become easier, and eventually second nature. If your child still exhibits difficulty doing so, then you may need to get some help.

Some signs that children are struggling with reading comprehension skills include:

  • Difficulty recognizing letters or matching letters to sounds
  • Difficulty pronouncing words
  • Small vocabulary for their age range
  • Difficulty making or identifying rhymes
  • Poor grasp of spelling
  • Difficulty recalling facts or numbers
  • Reverses letters
  • Has difficulty following directions
  • Unable to summarize a story

Some children may have reading comprehension difficulties because of underlying learning disabilities like dyslexia, which can be helped if caught early on.

Other issues that may interfere with reading skills include ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder), APD (auditory processing disorder) or visual processing issues.

Making sure that kids get the guidance and support they need early on can better ensure that they will grow into better readers with time. Pay attention to what your child excels at or struggles with to learn more about what they may need to become better readers.

How to Use Positive Reinforcement for Kids

Positive Reinforcement with Kids

Positive Reinforcement for Kids

As kids get older, they become more independent and begin making their own choices. As parents and guardians, it is important to encourage kids to make good and healthy decisions in their everyday lives.

Promoting these behaviors will help them develop into well-adjusted adults. Reinforcing these positive behaviors can also help kids feel good about the choices they make. These choices will further motivate them to continue  being good, responsible people. Here are some ways parents can use positive reinforcement for kids every day.

Verbal Affirmation

This sort of simple encouragement can go a long way. For example, “your room looks great when its tidy” or “I like how you’ve organized your toys.” This type of praise can give kids the validation they need to continue doing these things, find joy in them, and continue to listen when you ask them to complete such tasks.

Self-Esteem

Encouraging your child to improve and keep up with good behavior can be a big confidence and self-esteem booster as well as a motivator. Especially if they are being kind or helping out.  This will help them find value in these things and they may start doing things on their own.

Positive Reinforcement for Kids

Character Development

Parents are their children’s first and most powerful moral teachers. Therefore, it’s important that you demonstrate morals you want your kids to pick up from you. Try to make your life a living example of good moral behavior for your child to see.

Reinforce good moral behavior as it happens and make sure to always prioritize moral habits daily. This can be done by getting kids involved in helping others and the world around them. Instilling good values can go a long way and stay with your child as they get older.

When Does It Work Best?

But with all of this in mind, how can you know when positive reinforcement is most effective?

Utah State University published a behavioral guidelines checklist outlining when positive reinforcement works the best. According to this study, body language and positive verbal affirmation are the most effective, following a behavior you want to encourage. Saying things like “I’m proud of you,” “great job,” or being specific like “that was very polite of you,” or “that was really nice of you to (do what you did),“ can be incredibly effective.

Not all encouragement has to be verbal, either. Smiling, nodding in approval, and even doling out high-fives and thumbs-up can go a long way.

Take Away:  Using simple but proven strategies can make real differences in your children’s lives. Especially when you choose ones that matter most in raising good kids then commit to making them become a habit in your daily parenting.

 

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