• Teach Your Teenager Good Writing Skills Using The 5 Key Characteristics Of Good Writing

  • good writing skillsWe all know it’s important for our kids to have good writing skills. Writing essays is a skill that not only gets them better grades, it gets them into college, helps them earn scholarships and helps them land and keep a good job. Every job listing we look at these days says the candidate needs to have good writing skills. But how can parents teach their kids to write well? In this bonus episode, Mighty Parenting podcast host Sandy Fowler shares tips from Ecree on teaching our kids the 5 key characteristics of good writing.



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    A Favorite Quote from the Show: 

    Every job listing we look at these days says the candidate needs to have good writing skills.

    High Points of Our Conversation on Teaching Your Teenager Good Writing Skills:

    writing good essaysThe goal of homework is for your child to practice writing essays and to build their writing skills. This requires time, practice and feedback. No one can learn a skill when someone else does the work for them so parents have to learn to hang back, give the kids room to practice AND mess up their assignments–even if it means a bad grade.

    That doesn’t mean you can’t support them. It just means the support needs to come in the form of guiding, coaching, and teaching rather than doing.

    You can give feedback on their drafts, just don’t tell them what to write or how to make their point. Instead, point out any issues from a big-picture perspective. Say things like:

    • I like the way you’re leading into this idea but you need more support for your argument.
    • This paragraph doesn’t seem to have a clear point.
    • This paragraph seems too long.
    • Things need to be a bit more organized.

    Let them do some rewrites and bring it back to you. Do the same thing again.

    Ecree shares the essentials of good writing so we can coach our kids into writing better essays. There are 5 key characteristics of good writing: 

    1. Feedback: When we write, we need to solicit feedback. We need to understand whether our writing is working or not and where we can improve.
    2. Revision: We all know that practice makes perfect. So give your child feedback on what needs work or what isn’t clear and let them revise.
    3. Focus: Focus has 2 aspects to it. First, make sure your child has a good physical environment in which they can focus and work. Second, the writing needs to be focused and guided by a clear purpose which is articulated in the thesis statement. The rest of the paper should be organized to support the thesis statement.
    4. Identity: Your child’s writing should be in their own unique voice.
    5. Clarity: Our kids need to get to the point and provide examples to prove their point.

    I’ll add a comment of my own to all of this. There are a couple common issues which can surface when parents coach their kids through essays:

    1. We don’t have good writing skills ourselves or we don’t remember the rules of good writing.
    2. You know how to write well but your child doesn’t want to hear it from you.
    3. Parents start telling kids how to write rather than simply pointing out what areas need work.

    My problem is that I tend to give out suggestions rather than feedback. This doesn’t happen all the time because I know it’s not my job to tell them what to write. However, when we’re on the 10th rewrite, or it’s midnight, or the kid getting the feedback throws a lot of attitude my way, I start taking short cuts to simply get this job done.

    I really love the option of having my child work with a tutor, an AI tutor who is available 24/7, a tutor that isn’t tempted to take short cuts. I can still be a part of the process but I don’t have to mired in the moment-by-moment changes. And, let’s face it, in my case, my girls get better help from Ecree than they’ll get from me. 

    Resources Mentioned in Show:

    Ecree: On-demand, virtual writing tutor for students

    Our Sponsor – Ecree:

    Mighty Parenting sponsor Ecree: the virtual writing tutor for studentsEcree is the only AI virtual writing tool that provides unlimited, immediate, and consistent teacher-quality feedback on essay organization, argumentation, evidence, and analysis.  Unlike other AI technologies, Ecree offers a transparent rubric that makes expectations clear and aligns with common ELA standards and classroom rubrics.  Ecree is proven to strengthen student writing and to improve retention.  Founded in 2014, Ecree is on a mission to provide widespread access to fast, easy, and personalized writing feedback aimed at helping students become better writers and better thinkers.

    To learn more or connect with our sponsor visit ecree.com