Writing is a lifelong skill that is learned from the very first days of formal education. Writing will be used every day for the rest of your life. Between sending texts, emails, and recording life events, knowing how to write is a proven need for everyday life. In this article we will discuss a few ways to improve writing in elementary school. These habits and fundamentals are best learned at a young age.
Practice Makes Perfect
It is tough to be good at anything in life without a substantial amount of practice. Giving students opportunities to write every single day will improve their writing skills. In elementary school especially there is no need for the writing to be long. Having students write even one sentence per day will teach them important skills and build confidence in their writing abilities. Also, assigning practice writing at home in the form of journaling not only creates good habits but is good writing practice no matter how informal the writing may be.
Teach Writing Strategy
Simple, compound, complex, and compound-complex sentences are the four different types of sentence structure. An important step in developing good sentence construction and learning about the different sentence structures is understanding independent and dependent clauses.An independent clause makes sense on its own while a dependent clause does not.
There has to be a place for students to start and develop their idea, main points and subject of what they are writing. Teaching students about how to develop their own writing process will benefit them every time they sit down and begin writing something new.
Figurative language adds voice and depth to writing. It makes the reader more engaged and is a good way to paint a picture of what you are trying to express to the reader. Idioms are one form of figurative language that can enhance writing. This teacher has a great blog post with fun idiom activities to teach your students about how to use them and what they are.
Examples of Good Writing
In other words, reading is a great way to improve writing. Reading is essentially learning from the best writers about how they use writing strategies and processes. Reading can also get students excited about doing their own writing and spark creativity and desire.
They say you can learn as much from a bad example as you can from a good example. While students should be exposed to plenty of good writing, it can also be useful to show examples of poor writing and teach them how to recognize flaws and how to improve them so they can then proofread and give feedback to their peers in the next step.
Proofreading and Feedback
Giving students opportunities to have their peers proofread and give feedback is good, but teachers should also provide constructive feedback. Without this type of system students will never learn how to be better writers. They will not know how to fix their own mistakes, and they will not have the opportunity to learn from their peers. This type of activity will build trust and relationships between students and help them get to know each other better. Children also like to have some responsibility and be able to take charge on their own.
Let Students Choose the Topic
Letting students choose their own topic to write about will increase creativity and probability that students will willingly complete their writing assignments giving them the much needed practice. If students are not allowed to choose the topics of their assignments including books to read, school will become less fun and more of a chore and students will develop a negative attitude toward all assignments. Regardless of what they are writing about, the practice of writing will still be beneficial, so don’t stress too much about the topic.