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“Helping Your Child Learn”

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Parent tips from the Utah Education Association

Reading and Writing – Encourage Writing at Home
By Kathy Christiansen, sixth-grade reading, writing and social studies teacher at Cedar Ridge Middle School, Hyde Park, Utah

Parents can take a hand and open a mind when they provide opportunities for children to practice purposeful writing at home. Writing for real purposes is rewarding to children, and family activities present many opportunities for this. Children can help write a grocery list for mom, or add some notes at the end of a parent’s letter. They can design, draw and write the message for holiday and birthday cards or invitations for family parties.

Some other occasions when children can be involved in writing at home are in taking down telephone messages or writing thank-you notes for gifts they have received. Parents not only teach writing, but also courtesy when they encourage children to write notes of gratitude to family members, teachers, and friends for thoughtful acts of kindness towards them. Involving older children may take some effort, but it will be worth it. Writing helps children better understand what they think.

When children know what they think, they can express themselves better and voice their opinions more intelligently. Parents should never underestimate their power when helping children get on the “Write Track” to “Write Their Own Future.”