How to Teach your Child to Write Essays

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The ability to write essays is very important not only for good grades at school, but also for the overall creative development of the individual. However, it is impossible to teach a child the rules of writing a good essay at lessons. To form this skill parents and teachers should act in a special way.

At the lessons, children can be told about highlighting the topic, making a plan, observing the composition, and so on. But teachers say nothing about the most important thing – how to create a text of artistic value. Many spontaneously developed methods for improving these skills are ineffective. One study, for example, says that corrections and notes left by the teacher in an essay do not achieve their aim; most often, students simply ignore them.

This does not mean, however, that parents and teachers are powerless. Various factors influence the formation of writing skills, remembering which you can help your child to find his or her own creative handwriting.

1. Interest

This is the key to success, not only in writing essays, but also in any other area of activity. If a person is interested in what he is doing, the skill will come by itself. It is not a question of mercenary interest, but the process of doing something must be regarded by the individual as meaningful and engaging.

This implies teaching the child a certain system of values in which creativity, self-expression, intellectual work take the leading position.

An essay is not just a statement of thoughts. It is the result of creative activity

The child must be educated to respect the art of writing, the great writers must be for him examples worthy of respect. And most importantly, he must understand why they deserve respect. That is, he must be aware of the aesthetic value of literature, the beauty of language.

For example, studies argue that it is important to show the student that one long sentence sounds more beautiful than several short ones. It is necessary to teach him to combine sentences, to tell him by what means it can be achieved. The same is true of other artistic aspects of language.

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2. Respect for literature

For this, the child must certainly read. But this does not mean that he should be forced to swallow the entire school program – this often achieves only the opposite goal. Many people mistakenly believe that the more a person reads, the better he will write. This is not true. Even in terms of vocabulary enrichment: for new words to enter the active vocabulary, they need to be used regularly. Educational agency StudyCrumb argues that to enrich the active vocabulary is much more effective method of providing a list of new words and the task of using them in the essay.

Literature should not be read “because it was assigned. The school curriculum is designed more for quantitative consumption of the classics than for their qualitative study.

Much more effective would be an individual approach: find out what genre a child likes, and focus in that direction. If, for example, he likes fantasy, but at the lessons we teach him Shakespeare, for which he has no interest at all, it would be more correct to open the literary world to him on the basis of his interests.

3. Motivation to think

This does not mean that it is necessary to forget about the school program: it is also possible to arouse a certain interest with the help of teaching methods. At our school, we all loved literature because the teacher always led the lessons without consulting textbooks. She could devote almost a whole quarter to one work. But she would take it apart in such a way that everyone was involved in the discussion. She made points of view that ran counter to critical “standards” and provoked us into discussion.

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There are standard steps in writing an essay:

  • highlighting the topic;
  • making a plan;
  • writing an introduction with a presentation of the topic;
  • writing the main body of the essay;

This is a perfectly logical structure for working on any essay, and it essentially reflects correct and consistent thinking. And it ought to be taught, however it’s not the one you need to start from. Forcing a child to imitate dry samples, curbing his creative energy, forcing him to play by someone else’s rules, you are unlikely to awaken interest in him.

It would be more effective if he gets full freedom of expression and the opportunity to express himself on the topic of his interest without restriction. And in the process of writing an essay you can correct it or give advice on how best to organize the text. The child will master the structure, but will do so from his own experience.

4. Imitating adults

Studies claim that full monitoring of the essay writing process, helping the student in real time will yield better results than the common technique of leaving the student alone with the paper and then making edits to the finished result.

Paschal Okafor is NaijaTechGuide Team Lead. The article How to Teach your Child to Write Essays was written by NaijaTechGuide Team. The article was last modified: December 7th, 2021
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