Writing wasn't my passion growing up. It still isn't. I still remember spending hours in front of my computer trying to write essay after essay (the distraction of internet didn't help either). It felt like I would write for a few minutes and then enter a long portion of writer's block. The process would repeat over and over again until I finished.
Often times, I found myself short of the length requirement. I resorted to changing the format of my essays on Word. 12 point font size? Change that 12.5. Double space between lines? Change that to 2.1 lines. Increase the spacing between each character. Increase the margins of the paper. Getting ready to end a paragraph? I always stretched my last sentence until the last word appeared on the next line. Then I would start a new paragraph on a brand new line. It was an easy way to get an extra line in! But my favorite? Changing all the periods in my paper to size 14.
I'm no expert on the topic of writing as I mentioned earlier (I already too a few writing breaks up to this point!), but here's a few things you can do to help your child with their writing.
1. ENGAGE THEM IN CONVERSATION
Part of what makes writing hard for students is translating their thoughts into words and sentences. They have so many ideas and points racing through their mind (okay, sometimes no thoughts at all) that it is hard for them to verbally express them. Making conversation with your child helps them to verbally express what they are thinking. It forces them to formulate and organize their thoughts to make conversation.
2. DON'T SETTLE FOR ONE WORD ANSWERS.
We all know the answer to the question, "How was your day?" "Fine." "Good." What did you do at school today? "Nothing." While making conversation with your child, don't let them answer your questions with one word. Ask them to explain their reasoning behind it. No job interview out there goes well when people give one word answers. While their first job interview might be a ways off, it is important to start developing verbal explanations for their answers.
3. DISTRACTION FREE ENVIRONMENT
Part of the reason why writing essays took me so long in high school was that I was distracted by so many things on the computer. YouTube, web surfing, and online chat programs were a big distraction. Providing a quiet space for writing can help students focus on the task at hand. You can also provide your child with pen and paper to get him/her started on a rough draft which can be later typed onto a computer.