How Can You Improve Your Teen’s Writing Skills
Is your teen an avid reader and wants to become a writer like his favourite author? Here are some things you can do to help him get good at it.
By Jasmine Kaur
Reading a well-written piece on any topic is not only a joyful experience but also reveals the writer's intellectual prowess. Good writing skills usually develop from the habit of reading widely and understanding well, and thinking and analysing deeply.
Writing is not just about expressing one's views, but also benefits the writer in several ways. It boosts creativity, decreases stress, enhances communication skills, streamline our thoughts and help us connect with our emotions.
Learning to write, and write well, can be especially beneficial to teenagers as they go through several different experiences. Here are some ways you can help your teen improve his writing skills.
Foster a love for reading: A love of writing usually begins with a love for reading and words. That’s why some of the best writers are also well-read. You could nurture a passion for words in your child by understanding what kind of literature your teen is interested in. You could expose him to different types of writing such as poetic non-fiction essays or comical science-fiction novels. You could also get him a library subscription to help him explore the world of books more. It would also help if you encourage your child to establish a daily ritual like reading before going to bed.
Work on vocabulary: Though a knowledge of long and complex words wouldn't make your child a good writer, it would certainly help her express her thoughts better. You should encourage your teen to look up the meaning of words in the dictionary when she comes across one she hasn't read previously. This would help improve her vocabulary. You could also encourage your child to try and use the new words she has learnt during everyday conversations.
Practise repeatedly: To improve a skill, it is necessary to do it over and over again. The more your teen writes, the more his writing skills would improve. A simple way to practise writing could be to keep a diary or a journal where your child can record his thoughts and experiences. This exercise would give him the opportunity to be creative in whatever way he chooses to.
Another way your teen could practise is by going through grammar and vocabulary worksheets. She could even use the writing practise tests of the Standard Aptitude Test (SAT), which has well-designed questions to gauge a students’ writing abilities. While these worksheets and tests may not allow much room for her to develop her creativity, they would help her fine tune her skills.
Nurture creativity: Writing is an art. There are infinite ways to write a sentence and not be wrong. Thus, as with any art, it helps to inspire your child's creativity and encouraging him to become better at it. You could motivate your teen to be more creative in his writing by:
- taking the time to read what he has written. This would show your teen that you care about the effort he’s put in and take an active interest in his endeavour.
- engaging with what he has written. If your teen has written about penguins, don’t just read and offer her a compliment, but ask questions as well. For example, you can ask her why she chose to write about penguins and how did she go about her research.
- providing good writing material. Sometimes, just being gifted a good pen and paper to write can be uplifting.
- giving your vote of confidence by telling him to keep writing.
Encourage self-expression: With the help of words, your child can create new works of art. If you can show your teen how she can express herself through words, she would be motivated to work on her writing abilities. You could do this by encouraging her to try writing poetry, fiction, or any other form of writing she feels comfortable with. You never know, she might become the next Emily Dickenson, Virginia Woolf or Jane Austen.
Popular author Richard Bach once said, “A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.” There may be times when your teen faces a writer’s block or is simply not interested in the activity. Don’t force, but always encourage him to find his way back to a pen and paper (or a keyboard). Writing is a skill that always comes in handy and, at times, helps heal.
About the author:
Written by Jasmine Kaur on 22 January 2019.
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