Thursday, July 26, 2012

How to Help your Child Write an Essay

For some children, writing an essay may be a difficult task.  Writing does not come natural for a lot of kids, let alone grown-ups.  However, as a parent we can help them over-come their fear of putting words down on paper and teach them, while essay writing may not be that easy, it isn’t really difficult either.

Sit down with your child and ask them how much they know about writing an essay.  If it’s their first essay, explain to them what an essay is and parts of an essay (Introduction, two body paragraphs and a concluding paragraph).  Try to explain the process of writing in a fun and exciting way. Remember, some kids may find writing this assignment even terrifying.

Effective Research

Teach your child how to do an effective research.  Use resource books from the library, from your own home and of course, the internet.  Explain to them the importance of note-taking and or highlighting important words/sentences with a marker.  To make it more enjoyable, buy them different colored markers to use on their research.


Show them how to construct a good outline.  Tell them not to worry about writing in full sentences yet, short phrases will do. Do a brainstorming session, just to get their ideas flowing.  Don’t ask the questions.  Instead, try to prompt them to ask the questions and let them answer their own questions in short phrases.

First Draft

Once the outline has been written down, congratulate them and say that they are now ready to write the first draft.  Don’t make it sound intimidating, make it seem more fun.  Tell your child that this is just the first draft and they can revise later on.  The first draft is just expounding and writing in full sentences/paragraphs on the questions and answers they’ve written on their outline.

Read Aloud

Ask your child to read their essay aloud to you.  Explain to them that by doing this, it will be easy to identify awkward words/phrases or grammatical errors.  And sometimes, hearing something you’ve written aloud also allows you to critique your own work.  Do another brainstorming session with them.  Ask important questions like “Do you think you’ve answered all your questions in your outline?”  During the discussion, ask them to take down notes and write the comments on their first draft using a red pen.

Final Draft

Now it’s time to write the final draft.  Teach them how to incorporate the comments on their final draft.  Ask them whether they think their essay is too long or too short.  If you feel that their essay still needs another re-write, try to prod them by asking questions that will prompt them into doing another revision.  Tell them that professional writers make dozens of revisions before the final draft.

Proof Read

Remind your child the importance of proof-reading their own work, watch out for spellings and missing punctuations.  Once they’ve done that, offer to do a final proof read for them.


Even at a young age, explain to your child what plagiarism is all about.  Teach them the proper way of making a reference and how quotations should be properly cited.

Once your child is finished, congratulate them for a job-well done.  Perhaps even give them a small reward, like an inexpensive journal.  Encourage them to keep writing and asking important questions.  This will help your child be comfortable with putting their thoughts down on paper and when the next essay is due, writing will come out natural for them and who knows, your child may be a future best-selling author or a very important essay-writer!

Author Bio: Anna Steel is a mother of four boys who has worked out a great back-to-school routine for her children. She always helps her children with essays or projects at school, but when it's difficult to catch up, she uses

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