Screenshot from virtual Math Genie Reading and Writing Class
When teaching kids how to write, it’s important for them to know that someone is going to be there, excited to read what they have to say! When we take the time to really listen to our kid’s writing, we are raising their self-esteem, boosting their motivation to please, and deriving an interest in writing just because it’s a fun way to express themselves.
As children begin to write complete sentences, it’s a daunting task. They have to remember the way each letter looks and sounds, proper spacing, handwriting, and more. Of course, their sentence has to make sense, and articulating ideas is much harder when there’s a bunch of them swirling around in a child’s mind. There’s a lot going on, and it’s natural to shy away from the new challenge at first.
When an adult becomes an active part of a child’s learning, everything seems easier for the child. They are often less scared to make mistakes because they know they will be met with positive reinforcement and praise for what they did right. It’s an exciting time for kids to transcribe their thoughts in a new way. Make writing an enjoyable experience for your child as soon as you introduce it to them. A little bit of writing practice each day will go far.
Make it Fun & Build Self-Esteem
Start with short sentences and reinforce baby steps and accomplishments. Provide small prizes or rewards, depending on the child’s age. If your child is older, remind them why it’s important to be a good communicator and how it translates into other skills like forming ideas and speaking publicly. It’s important to praise your child just as often as you correct a mistake. This will motivate them to continue trying their best. Also, recognizing small milestones in writing will boost the self-esteem of your child, helping them to realize they are capable of more than they had realized.
Improvement is Faster
When we are there to witness our child’s writing, we will be able to practice fine-detail editing with them. This doesn’t mean we should nitpick at everything. After all, improvement in everything is always gradual. When children know that other people will be reading their work, they may work harder to reach their potential in an effort to please. This might mean that they take the time to more closely proofread, look up synonyms for words they have used more than once, and more. We are able to transform our writing more quickly when we know an audience is reading it
Why We Focus on The Audience
Depending on the type of writing your child is doing, it’s essential for them to know that their writing holds a particular purpose. If it’s a persuasive prompt, they should know that their main goal is to convince the reader of their opinion. If it’s informational, the piece should be well-researched and tidy of errors, clear and concise, since it serves the sole purpose of teaching another person something. If a child is assigned writing that they know no one will ever read or take an interest in, they will take less pride in their work, and potentially lose interest in the art of writing. It may seem useless for them to write something that will never be seen by any eyes but their own. Maintaining focus on the audience helps keep the student’s eye on the goal or purpose of their work. It also may help to retain their interest. They may feel like they are doing something important that will help another person in some way.
What Kind of Audience Is Best To Improve My Child’s Writing?
As a reading and writing teacher here at Math Genie, I have seen my students improve rapidly, just by having an audience of up to five people on a weekly basis. My students are always excited to start their prompts at the beginning of class. They act competitively to see who will get the highest word count (in virtual classes) and return the best feedback from their peers.
My students have enough independent time spent creating and getting all of their thoughts down without delay so they don’t forget. I always advise them to just write! They know that getting thoughts down is the most important part of the writing process. It helps to quiet the mind following the flood of ideas that happen in the first few minutes of exposure to the prompt or assignment. Students should never strive for perfection. Also, they know it’s trivial to get caught up with grammar so much that their content is lacking (in their first draft).
Why Math Genie?
At Math Genie, our students are provided with various types of prompts ranging from persuasive to informative, personal narratives to poetry, and so on. In a two-hour reading class, students are provided with a prompt and expected to write for forty minutes. The teacher offers them feedback specific to their particular needs. For example, writing dialogue, sentence structure, capitalization, etc. Through the editing process, students prepare to present their first draft to the class and receive feedback.
In the last twenty minutes of the hour, students stand up in front of the class and present their piece! They are instructed to focus on volume, enunciation, eye contact, posture, and more. After they share, their peers and teacher provide feedback. Feedback is about what they liked about the essay and what the student can improve on. Then for homework, the student is instructed to implement the feedback into their second draft!
Students Flourish in the Program
Giving students a platform to showcase their ideas to peers is monumental to how quickly they improve their writing. They want to do well and be proud of their work. They feel good when they earn constructive feedback and compliments. They practice a healthy competition of improving each week and are motivated to keep getting better. Most importantly, they enjoy the journey. They raise the bar for themselves and surprise one another with their creative and robust ideas and presentations.
Signing your child up for the reading and writing program at Math Genie is one of the kindest acts of service you can do for them. As a Math Genie teacher, I can honestly see a stark difference between the abilities of children who attend Math Genie and those who don’t. Don’t wait, sign up today and see the benefit for yourself.