At Village, we believe that your children can learn to write well—that writing is a craft. To get better at writing, it's important that they write a lot. The more children write, the more fluent they are. So one thing you can do is be their cheerleader, helping them develop the stamina it takes to become a fast and fluent writer.
We will teach your children to be writers of narratives, arguments, informational texts, and poetry. We believe in narrative because for your children's whole lives it will matter that they can tell their own stories well. Every job interview, every scholarship application, every college essay will be an opportunity for your children to tell their own stories with grace and power. We believe in argument because we want your children to be able to advocate for themselves and others; to defend positions with logic and evidence; to become ever more persuasive, compelling, and ethical. We believe in informational writing because your children will learn a lot that they can teach others, now and in the future. We believe in poetry because there is poetry singing in your children's souls, and you want to hear it.
We believe that writers of all ages benefit from having a writing partner who will help them rehearse their writing and give them knowledgeable feedback along the way. Therefore, you can make an immense difference by being a "first reader" for your child. We can help you learn to do that. Just ask your child's teacher if you are unsure of the type of support they would like you to give at home.
Parent Prompts to Help Kids Rehearse Their Writing
- How will your (story/essay/article) go?
- Tell me about the parts.
- How will it start?
- Then what will come next?
- How do you think you want to end?
- What will be the most important moment in the piece?
- What will be the tricky part—where might it get confusing? Let me know when you're at that part, and we can talk it out if you want.
MORE ADVANCED PROMPTS
- Try out a couple of leads on me. Let's see which ones really get a reader interested.
- What are you thinking about pacing? How will you control tension?
- Do you want to tell everything at once, or let out the details bit by bit?
- What do you want your reader to know right away?
- What do you want your reader to wonder about?
- What are you saving for the ending?
- How are you going to tailor this piece to your audience?
- Do you have to explain any technical vocabulary?
- Is there a particular perspective or point of view you want to represent?
- Will you do anything to acknowledge other points of view in this piece?
Parent Prompts to Help Kids Elaborate
- There was something you said before that struck me … you have to get that bit in here!
- When you were talking about this, I jotted down this one idea/phrase that was very cool … Is this something you want to add?
- Say more about this one part …
- Wait a second, I'm going to jot down what you're saying … Now take this—see if it works anywhere.
- How did that part we starred [or that part you said was most important] turn out?
- You know, thinking about how strong this piece is, it might be worth thinking about the beginning [or the ending] a little more …
The aforementioned information is taken from ASCD March 2014 issue: Parents as Writing Partners.