My Kid Can’t Write an Essay Without Having a Meltdown

She gets overwhelmed every time—but breaking down the assignment into smaller steps could help her manage it.

A little girl standing on a giant laptop, her head surrounded by circling bats

Editor’s Note: Every Tuesday, Abby Freireich and Brian Platzer take questions from readers about their kids’ education. Have one? Email them at [email protected].

Dear Abby and Brian,

My daughter is in ninth grade and is really struggling with essay writing. English, history, the subject doesn’t matter—she has a meltdown every time. She just stares at the screen and doesn’t know where to start.

I try to remember what I learned in high school about the Roman empire or Robert Frost to get her going. I’ve tried to leave her alone, or to sit there doing the work along with her. None of it ever seems to help. I find myself dreading her getting an essay assignment, because whenever she does, the night before it’s due nearly always ends with her in tears or yelling at me.

What can I do?

Julia Virginia

Dear Julia,

Seeing your daughter so upset when confronted with writing assignments can be painful. We appreciate your instinct to help, but neither leaving your daughter alone nor sitting there doing the work along with her is the right approach. What will help is taking an assignment that overwhelms her and breaking it down into a series of small, manageable steps that she can do on her own. The goal is not to get an essay written no matter what, but to set her up for being an independent, confident student who doesn’t rely on you at every turn.

You’ll want to sit down with her and say something like “I know essay writing has been really hard, but it will help if you can think about it as a set of smaller steps and budget enough time for each.” Then go through these steps with her:

  • Read the material, highlighting important points and taking notes.

This is the starting point for any good essay writing. Suggest that even before she is assigned a writing prompt, she begins taking notes on the material as she reads it. Annotation should serve as a conversation with the text: She should mark significant or reaction-provoking passages and jot down a few words about why they are noteworthy.

  • Review the notes, looking for one thread that ties everything together.

This is how she will begin building her thesis. Teachers sometimes disagree over whether students should start with a working thesis and then find evidence to build their case, or start with examples and see where they lead. We believe that the thesis and examples should be developed together; as your daughter narrows down evidence, her thesis can evolve.

  • Write topic sentences for each of the body paragraphs, and then match topic sentences with examples and analysis to build an outline.

Your daughter should think about defending her thesis with a series of sub-arguments, each expressed as a topic sentence for her body paragraphs. Many students have difficulty connecting their arguments to evidence, because they are inclined to summarize the material rather than critically evaluate it. Your daughter can ask herself what her examples reveal about her topic sentences and then delve into the importance of word choice and literary devices as is relevant.

  • Write introduction and conclusion paragraphs.

With topic sentences, examples, and analysis for each body paragraph together in outline form, your daughter can move on to her introduction and conclusion. The focus of her introduction should be general background information leading up to the thesis, and the conclusion should offer new insight into the significance of the topic and a parting thought for the reader to ponder.

  • Use the outline, introductory paragraph, and conclusion to write a first draft.

Once she has completed an outline, she’ll have a straightforward road map for writing a draft with more thoroughly developed ideas.

  • Look over the draft twice: once to ensure that the argument flows logically and a second time to eliminate errors in grammar and syntax, as well as to sharpen word choice.

We recommend that all editing be done while reading the work aloud from a printed draft, pencil in hand. Once these revisions are implemented, she’ll have a final draft ready to go.

If a single major assignment becomes six minor ones, your daughter is far less likely to feel overwhelmed. This process, from start to finish, will take about a week, so she should plan accordingly. With a calendar in front of her, she should look at what assignments she has coming up for the rest of the semester and mark deadlines for each of these steps so that she won’t have to rush at the end. Remember that writing always takes longer than it seems it should. Helping your daughter plan well in advance should allow her to approach writing with less trepidation and instead see it as a process composed of clear, manageable steps.

As she does this more and more, she’ll find that her belief in herself will grow—and you won’t cringe when you hear about the English essay due next week.

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7 Tips to Teach Essay Writing to Your Children

teaching essay writing

Writing is one of the most important skills for your child’s education. The unfortunate thing is that classroom settings often don’t provide enough practice time to really hone those writing skills. Experts from Ace Papers can provide good lessons and instruction, but there’s still a lot of slack for parents to pick up. Follow these seven tips to teach essay writing to your children.

Refresh on basic writing skills

Before you dive into essay writing, make sure your child has a good grasp on the basic elements of writing. Make sure they know the importance of things such as proper spelling and the rules of grammar. Remember to teach them these concepts at an age appropriate level, you don’t need to deliver a huge lecture. Be patient and correct them when they make a mistake and explain what the proper way to do things is. These fundamentals are the basic building blocks that you’ll be building their essay skills on. Here is an assortment of ideas to choose research paper help , combine or alter in order to come up with the answer that works best for your kid.

Start with a thesis

“Explaining an abstract concept such as a thesis to child can be challenging, but it’s a necessary understanding if they are to write an essay. Give them clear direction and simple examples to help explain what a thesis is and why it’s so important to an essay. Provide some prompts to get them started or give them some examples of what a good thesis statement is,” writes Carolyn Kirsch, educator at Academized . Try and emphasize that the thesis is the core of an essay, everything else is built out from it.

Show them how to write an outline

Your outline is a master plan for your essay and will include all the important elements. A lot of children aren’t comfortable expressing their thoughts in writing, and an outline is a great way to encourage them and show them the logical context of their essay. Show them the basic structure, including the introduction, main body, and conclusion. Explain to them that the main body is where they will make their arguments and the conclusion should be a thoughtful summary of their main points.

Encourage them to read

One of the best ways for your child to improve their writing is simply by teaching them to love reading. Reading is great because it gives them plenty of good writing examples to soak up and learn from. Reading is also a good way to increase their vocabulary and that is key for improving writing skills. The more your child reads the more they will learn about how sentences work together and the stronger their essay writing skills will be.

Practice lots

Writing practice is very important to building essay writing skills. A lot of kids don’t get very much writing practice in the classroom. Teachers will explain the basics and give them some exercises, but the time spent writing in the classroom is very limited. Encourage your child to write at home. Help them by giving them a theme to write about for the day. The next day, you can build off that theme by having them write an essay about it.

Use technology to help your child

Chances are you associate technology with distracting your child from reading and writing. But used properly, certain technologies can be very helpful to improving your child’s essay writing skills. Don’t be afraid to let them use the tablet if they prefer to read and write using that device. Just remember though to ensure your child doesn’t copy information from other resources online. We asked  online expert  Adam Collins regarding how lenient colleges & schools are when it comes to plagiarism in essays, he said “Most establishments now have comprehensive plagiarism checkers when marking essays, its important children steer clear of the temptation on copy a sentence of two from different resources, as this will now be flagged easily by the tools. Pinterest can also be a great tool because it is very useful for organizing materials, and since essay writing involves research, Pinterest can be very helpful.

Online tools can help teach your kid essay writing

There are a lot of resources on the web that can help you teach essay writing to your child. Here are a few to get started with:

  • ViaWriting and WritingPopulist – These grammar resources are great for simplifying the writing process and making grammar a bit more approachable.
  • BigAssignments and EssayRoo – Proofreading is something a lot of children struggle with, and it requires a lot of attention to detail. These proofreading tools, suggested by Revieweal , can help.
  • StudyDemic and StateofWriting – Read through these blogs with your child and you’ll get access to lots of helpful suggestions on essay writing.
  • BoomEssays and UKWritings – These are editing tools that have been reviewed in Boomessays review and are very helpful at catching the mistakes you are likely to miss on your own.
  • MyWritingWay and LetsGoandLearn – Check out these academic writing guides for help teaching your child to write an essay. They are simple and will walk your kid through the writing process step by step.

Conclusion The writing skills you teach your kid now will serve them for the rest of their life. Writing is a huge part of success not just in high school, but especially in college and the working world. Use these seven tips to teach essay writing to your children.

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Grace Carter's picture

Grace Carter is a mom who works remotely at  Coursework Writing Service  and Paper Fellows websites. There she manages blog posts, works with a team of proofreaders. Also, Grace teaches academic writing at the Elite Assignment Help services

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how to help your child write essay

How to Teach Your Child to Write an Essay – Step by Step

how to help your child write essay

Children are naturally creative, and essay writing should come easy to them. But it usually doesn’t. 

So, how can you teach your child essay writing while making the process enjoyable for both of you?

I’m Tutor Phil, and in this article I’ll show you how to teach your child how to express thoughts on paper, even if some resistance is present.

We’ll first learn three principles that will help you make progress fast. And then we’ll go through the step-by-step process of teaching your child how to write an essay. 

Principle 1. Clarity equals motivation

We’ve all heard the expression: “You can lead the horse to the water, but you can’t make it drink.” One of your concerns can be your child’s motivation. 

You may be convinced that your child hates writing or is really bored with it. Perhaps your child will do anything to avoid sitting down to write. 

And you know what – any or all of the above may be true. But your child can still learn how to write an essay because it is not the lack of motivation per se that is the problem.

In this short video, Dr. Lee Hausner gives some eye-opening advice about motivating a child:

Here are the key points Dr. Hausner makes:

  • You cannot create motivation in somebody else.
  • Strong parents often mistakenly feel that they can transfer their motivation onto their children.
  • Motivation is internal.
  • Simplistic formula: “ Activity + Satisfaction = Motivation .”
  • Conversely, “ Activity + Stress & Pressure = Avoidance .”
  • Create an environment where your child can be successful and enjoy what he does. 
  • Encourage and reward any small success and bit of progress. 

Let’s apply these principles to motivating a child in writing an essay. 

How to motivate a child to write

Chances are that if your child would rather not engage in writing, that is primarily because the process is fuzzy in his mind (and I’ll use the pronoun “he” to refer to your child throughout the tutorial, for the sake of elegance and brevity). 

You see, essay writing is not really taught in school. It is taught kind of sort of, but not really. 

Assigning a topic, grading the essays, and making suggestions for improvement is not teaching. It’s only a part of the process. 

To teach is to give the student a method, a step-by-step process, in which every step can be measured and improved. 

That’s what I’m about to give you. And that’s what you will need to effectively teach your child. 

But when a child does not have a step-by-step method, the process is fuzzy in his mind. And whatever is fuzzy is viewed as complicated and difficult because it’s like eating an elephant whole. 

Let’s revisit Dr. Hausner’s formula: “ Activity + Satisfaction = Motivation .”

Activity can be satisfying only if it is successful to some degree. When your child succeeds at something, and you acknowledge him for it, that becomes fun, enjoyable, and satisfying.

But you see, it’s hard to succeed at something without knowing what you’re doing. And even if you succeed, if you did not follow a recipe, then in the back of your mind you suspect that you probably can’t repeat or replicate the success.

Not knowing what to do while being expected to do it is a recipe for avoidance. And guess what – your child probably got his share of fuzzy instructions.

For example, consider this instruction:

“Tie it all together.”  

This statement is meaningless – to a child or even to an adult. What does it really mean to “tie it all together?” And yet, this is how they usually teach how to write a conclusion paragraph, as an example. 

But such a statement only creates fuzziness and demotivates.

So, in this tutorial, we’ll be cultivating clarity. I’ll be giving you crystal clear instructions so you could develop clarity in yourself and help your child develop it, too.

Principle 2. Writing is thinking on paper

An essay consists of sentences. The word “ sentence ” comes from the Latin word “sententia,” which means “thought.” 

Thus, to write literally means to express thoughts on paper. Why is this important?

This is important because by teaching your child how to write an essay, you’re really teaching him how to think . 

Your child will carry this skill through his entire life. It will be useful, even indispensable in:

  • Acing standardized tests
  • Writing papers in college
  • Putting together reports and presentation professionally
  • Defending a point of view effectively

You can tell I take essay writing seriously 🙂

But if you ever run out of patience yourself, just remember that you’re really teaching your child how to think. 

Principle 3. Essays are built not written

When you child hears the word “ write ,” he gets that queasy feeling in the pit of his stomach. 

We’ll make it a lot easier for him by thinking of writing an essay and referring to it as just “ building an essay.”

If your child has ever loved playing with Lego, then the method you’re about to learn will feel familiar, both in terms of motivation and developing the skill. 

By the way, if you want to brush up your own essay writing skills before you sit down with your child to teach him, I highly recommend this article: Essay Writing for Beginners . 

All right – without further ado, here are…

Six steps to teaching your child essay writing: 

Step 1. Pick a topic and say something about it

In order to write, your child must write about something . That something is the subject of the essay. In this step, you want to help your child pick a topic and say something about it. 

In essence, you’re asking your child these two questions:

What will your essay be about?

  • What about it?

For example, 

“My essay will be about grandma’s lasagna.”

“Okay. What about grandma’s lasagna?”

“It’s my favorite food.”

The result will be a complete main point, also known as the thesis. A thesis is the main point of the entire essay summarized in one sentence: 

“My grandma’s lasagna is my favorite food.”

Boom! Now, the reader knows exactly what this essay will be about. It is also clear that this is going to be a glowing review. 

Here’s my short video explaining what a thesis is:

When teaching a child, it’s important to keep the topic unilateral. In other words, it should be either positive or negative. It should be one simple idea. 

Don’t start out trying to develop a more complex topic that offers a balanced perspective with positives and negatives. Don’t do a compare/contrast, either. Keep it simple for now. 

This is the first step because the main point is the genesis for all other ideas in the essay . 

How to help your child pick a topic

Encourage your child to pick a topic he can get excited about because then he’ll be enthusiastic thinking and talking about it. 

Try to think of some of the things you know he is interested in. He can write an essay about absolutely anything.

It doesn’t have to be a serious or an academic subject. It could be anything from apple pie to Spiderman. 

Of course, the subject should be informed by your child’s age, as well. But once you sit down to work on essay writing, make it clear to your child that he can pick any topic he wants. 

Ask your child what he would like to write about or “build into an essay.” And whatever he chooses, just run with it. That’s what your first essay together will be about. 

Once you’re settled on the topic, just have your child write it down on a piece of paper or type it into the computer.

Here is a list of suggestions for essay topics to give a try:

  • What I love the most about the summer
  • My favorite thing to do on weekends
  • John is my best friend because…
  • Essay writing is…
  • My least favorite day of the week is…
  • My favorite season is…
  • It is important to be brave (intelligent, skillful at something, etc.)
  • If I could have any animal for a pet, it would be…
  • My sister (brother) makes my life (exciting, difficult, etc.)
  • Holidays are fun times (or dreadful times).

Remember – this is not the only or the last essay you’ll write together. Just encourage your child to pick a topic and write it down. Now, you’re ready for the next step. 

Step 2. Practice the Power of Three

We’re building our essays, remember? Not writing them. At least at this point, all you’ve done is encouraged your child to pick a topic. No writing involved yet.

In this step, no real writing is involved, either. It’s just a mental exercise, really. 

In writing or building an essay, it is necessary to break things into parts. Young children love to break things because they want to see how something works or what it looks like inside. 

How do you write an essay about an egg?

You must first divide the concept of an egg into parts. How do you do that? I highly recommend this simple technique I call the Power of Three. 

how to help your child write essay

Three is an optimal number for a young brain, and really for adults, as well, to think about and process. Our brain thinks like this: “One, two, three, many.”

One doesn’t help us because you’re not dividing. Two is okay but not quite enough ideas to develop.

Three is easy to deal with while giving your child a challenge. And let’s set the record straight – thinking is not easy. It is challenging. This is why so few people teach it. 

But we’re making it fun by breaking it into steps and providing clear instructions. 

Okay, so back to the egg. Let’s apply the power of three to the idea of an egg:

how to help your child write essay

You see, if we only have a whole egg as an idea, it’s like staring at the blank screen or sheet of paper. Nothing causes the writer’s block better than one solid piece.

But now that we’ve divided this idea into three sub-ideas, or supporting ideas, this makes our life discussing eggs a lot easier. 

Now, if we wanted to write an essay about eggs, we can discuss:

  • The yolk and its color, taste, and nutritional content
  • The egg white, its color, taste, and nutritional content
  • The shell, its color, texture, and shape

Note that when we divide a topic or an idea, each part must be different from the other parts in some important ways. In other words, we want three distinct parts. 

You can use this part of the tutorial and ask your child to think about how to divide an egg into parts. It’s a very intuitive step, and your child will love the challenge. 

And by the way, you child may get very creative about it because the answer is not necessarily the yolks, the white, and the shell. It could be:

  • Chicken eggs
  • Ostrich eggs
  • Boiled eggs

Whatever way to divide eggs into three concepts your child comes up with, approve and praise it. Now, let’s apply the power of three to an actual topic. 

We need a topic that we’ll use for the rest of the tutorial. Here it is:

“If I could have any animal for a pet, it would be a panther.”

Applying the Power of Three to an essay topic

Let’s apply what we just learned to this topic about a panther. Note that we have the entire thesis, a complete main point. Our subject is “a panther as a pet.”

We’re just using this example with an understanding that panthers don’t make good pets and belong in the wild. But since we asked, we should roll with the child’s imagination. 

Now, you want to encourage your child to come up with three reasons why he would choose a panther as a pet.

This is a challenging step. The first one or two reasons will come relatively easily. The third reason usually makes the child, anyone really, scratch his head a little.

Let’s come up with three reasons why a panther might make a great pet. 

Reason 1. Panthers are magnificently beautiful.

Great! That’s a good reason. 

Reason 2. A panther is more powerful than virtually any other pet.

That’s another legitimate reason to want a panther for a pet – you’re the king of the neighborhood, if not the whole town. 

And now, we’re thinking of reason 3, which will be the most challenging, so be ready for that. 

Reason 3. Panthers are loyal.

I’m making this one up because I really have no idea if panthers are loyal to their human owners when they have any. But I need a reason, this is just a practice essay, and anything goes. 

When your child comes up with a reason that is not necessarily true or plausible, let him run with it. What really matters is how well he can support his points by using his logic and imagination. 

Working with facts is next level. Right now, you want your child to get comfortable dividing topics into subtopics. 

The only criterion that matters is whether this subtopic actually helps support the main idea. If it does, it works. 

Step 3. Build a clear thesis statement 

Once you know the topic and the supporting points, you have everything you need to write out the thesis statement. Note that there is a difference between a thesis and a thesis statement.

Here’s a short video with a simple definition and example of a thesis statement:

Once you and your child have completed steps 1 & 2 thoroughly, step 3 is really easy. All you need to do is write out the thesis statement, using the information you already have. 

In fact, at this point, you should have every sentence of your statement and just need to put them all together into one paragraph. Let’s write out our complete thesis statement:

“If I could have any animal for a pet, it would be a panther, for three reasons. Panthers are magnificently beautiful. They are more powerful than virtually any other kind of a pet. And they are loyal.”

Note that we added the phrase “ for three reasons ” to indicate that we are introducing the actual reasons. In other words, we are building an introductory paragraph. We’re just presenting our main and supporting points here. 

When you read this opening paragraph, you unmistakably come away with a clear idea of what this essay is about. It makes a simple statement and declares three reasons why it is true. And that’s it. 

It is so clear that not even the least careful reader in the world can possibly miss the point. This is the kind of writing you want to cultivate in your child. Because, remember, writing reflects thinking. It would be impossible to write this paragraph without thinking clearly. 

Note also that there is no need for embellishments or other kinds of fluff. Elegant writing is like sculpture – you take away until there is no more left to take away. 

And guess what – we now have a great first paragraph going! Without much writing, we have just written the first paragraph. We were mostly building and dividing and thinking and imagining. And the result is a whole opening paragraph. 

Step 4. Build the body of the essay 

The body of the essay is where the main point is supported with evidence. Let’s revisit one of the rules of writing – to write an essay, you need to divide things into parts.

The body of the essay is always divided into sections. Now, since your child is presumably a beginner, we simply call the sections paragraphs. 

But keep in mind that a section can have more than one paragraph. An essay does not necessarily have the standard 5-paragraph structure. It can be as long as your child wants. 

But in this tutorial, each of our sections has just one paragraph, and that’s perfectly sufficient. 

How many sections will our body of the essay have? Well, we used the power of three, we came up with three supporting points, and so the body of the essay should naturally contain three paragraphs. 

How long should the paragraphs be? Let me show you how to gauge word count.

how to help your child write essay

This is just an example of how you can teach your child to distribute the number of words across paragraphs. 

As you can see, our body paragraphs should probably be longer than the introductory paragraph and the conclusion. 

This is how I always teach my students to go about a writing assignment that has a certain word count requirement. The essay above will contain about 400 words.

If your child needs to write 600 words, then the following might be a good distribution:

  • Introductory paragraph – 75 words
  • Body paragraph 1 – 150 words
  • Body paragraph 2 – 150 words
  • Body paragraph 3 – 150 words
  • Conclusion – 75 words

By doing this kind of essay arithmetic, it is easy to map out how much to write in each paragraph and not go overboard in any part of the essay. 

Body paragraph structure 

A paragraph in the body of an essay has a distinct structure. And this structure is not restrictive but it is rather liberating because your child will know exactly how to build it out.

how to help your child write essay

The first sentence in the body paragraph is always the lead sentence. It must summarize the contents of the paragraph. 

The good news is that this sentence is usually a form of one of the sentences that we’ve already written. How so?

Well, in our thesis statement, we have three supporting points. Each of them is essentially a lead sentence for that section or paragraph of the essay. For example, consider this sentence from our thesis statement:

“Panthers are magnificently beautiful.”

This is the first reason that your child would like a panther as a pet. It is also a very clear standalone sentence. 

It is also an almost perfect lead sentence. I say “ almost ” because we don’t want to repeat sentences in an essay. 

So, we’ll take this sentence as a base and add one or two words to it. We can also change a word or two by using synonyms. That way, we’ll expand it just slightly and turn it into a perfect lead sentence for our first body paragraph:

“ Panthers are very beautiful and graceful animals.”

Okay, so we added the epithet “graceful,” but that’s okay because grace is virtually synonymous with beauty. And now we have a great lead sentence and are ready to proceed. 

Let’s write out the entire first body paragraph and see how it works:

“ Panthers are very graceful and beautiful animals. When portrayed in documentaries about animals, panthers are nicely balanced. They are not as huge as tigers or lions. And their size allows them to be nimble and flexible. Their size and agility make them move very beautifully, almost artistically. When I imagine walking with a pet like that on the street, I can see people staring at my panther and admiring its beauty. It would definitely be the most beautiful pet in my entire neighborhood.”

The first sentence, as we already know, is the lead sentence. The next three sentences explain how panthers’ balanced size and agility make them graceful. 

The following sentence is an explanation of how these qualities make them beautiful through the power of movement. 

And finally comes the most specific bit of evidence – an example. This child paints a perfect picture of himself walking his pet panther on a leash. People admire the animal’s beauty, and the kid gets a tremendous kick out of this experience. 

It is an example because it contains imagery, perhaps even sounds. It is a specific event happening in a particular place and time. 

As you can see, this paragraph proceeds from general to specific. It also follows the structure in the diagram perfectly. 

Guide your child through writing two more of these paragraphs, following the same organization. And you’re done with the body. 

Proceeding from general to specific

Argumentative (expository) essays always proceed from general to specific. Our most general statement is the thesis, and it’s the first statement in the essay. 

Then we have our supporting points, and each of them is more specific than the thesis but more general than anything else in the essay. 

Each lead sentence is slightly more specific than the preceding supporting points in the thesis statement. 

Then, an explanation is even more specific. And finally, examples are the most specific elements in an essay. 

When working with your child, cultivate this ability to see the difference between the general and the specific. And help your child proceed in that manner in the essay. 

This ability is a mark of a developed and mature writer and thinker. 

Step 5. Add the conclusion

I almost always recommend concluding an essay with a simple restatement. Meaning, your child should learn how to say the same things in different words in the conclusion. 

Why did I say, “almost?” Because some teachers will require that your child write a conclusion without repetition. 

In that case, the teacher should instruct the student what she expects to read in the conclusion. A great way to deal with this situation is to approach the teacher and ask what kind of a conclusion she expects. 

And she’ll say what she wants, and your child will simply abide. 

But in the vast majority of cases, simple restatement works just fine. All it really entails is writing out an equivalent of the thesis statement – only using different words and phrases. 

Here is our thesis statement:

And here’s our conclusion:

“I would love to have a panther as a pet. Panthers are such magnificent animals that everyone would admire my pet. People would also respect it and keep some distance because of its power. And the loyalty of panthers would definitely seal the deal.”

All we did was restate the points previously made. Let your child master writing this kind of a conclusion. And if you’d like a detailed tutorial on how to write conclusions, I wrote one you can access here . 

Step 6. Add an introductory sentence

The final step is to add one sentence in the first paragraph. I didn’t use to teach it because it’s perfectly fine to get straight to the point in an essay.

This little introduction is an equivalent of clearing your throat 🙂

However, teachers in school and professors in college expect some kind of an introduction. So, all your child has to do is add one introductory sentence right before the thesis. 

This sentence should be even more general than the thesis. It should kind of pull the reader from his world into the world of the essay. 

Let’s write such a sentence as our introduction:

“Not all pets are created equal, and people have their choices.”

And here’s our complete introductory paragraph:

how to help your child write essay

And this concludes the tutorial. You can keep coming back to it as often as you want to follow the steps, using different topics. 

If you’d like the help of a professional, don’t hesitate and hit me up . 

Tutor Phil is an e-learning professional who helps adult learners finish their degrees by teaching them academic writing skills.

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How to (Peacefully) Help Your Child with Essay Writing

Having trouble working with your child on their essay? We understand how you’re feeling.

Raphael L.

Essay writing is a skill students are expected to learn in middle school and master in high school, but writing is often challenging. Writing is also a very personal process, so even if your child is working on a dry academic essay, they might feel self-conscious about showing you their work.

Don’t fret, we’re here to help! At Ivy Tutors Network, we pride ourselves in our tutors’ ability to guide a student through the writing process without losing their unique voice. You can do this too. The trick is to put yourself in the role of your child’s editor.

Writers and editors have a symbiotic relationship. They work together to make a piece of writing strong. In this relationship, the editor plays a supportive role—a sort of curator in the gallery where the writer’s work is being displayed. To relieve tension or opposition, we’ve found that it helps for parents and educators to talk through this writer-editor relationship with the student, explaining that this is exactly the way professional authors work. In fact, none of the TV shows, movies, blog posts, magazine articles, or books that we like would exist without editors.

Now, let’s go through a standard essay-writing process and look at exactly how we can help your child’s writing reach its maximum potential.

Mother helping her child with work

1. Brainstorming

The first step to writing is brainstorming. Whether it is a creative personal essay or an academic one, students need to start with strong ideas. Let your child start by thinking alone about their essay subject. Note-taking is an essential part of the brainstorming process, so encourage your child to write down any ideas that come into their mind, no matter how outlandish or silly.

Next, sit down together and discuss the notes. If you don’t understand something, ask them to explain it out loud. This exercise often helps students articulate ideas they had trouble expressing in writing. The act of explaining also helps students realize which ideas are strongest. If they have a lot to say about a particular point, chances are they have a lot to write about. Weaker ideas are often ones that can be explained in a sentence or two, but can’t be taken much further than that.

If you think there might be more to an idea than your child realizes, suggest it to them! If they don’t like it, discard it. Your job is to help them flesh out their notes, but they should always have the final say.

2. Outlining

After you and your child have gone through all their notes, it’s time to work on an outline. The standard essay format that most students are asked to write is the five-paragraph essay: an introduction, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Even for personal essays, this is a safe format to follow. Some essays might have two body paragraphs, others four—make sure to take a good look at the prompt for specific instructions on structure. For example, some essays need to include quotes from a text, others don’t.

Making an outline with your child can be a great way to work together. It helps them know that they’ve worked out a solid structure for their paper (which instills confidence), while also giving them room to write the essay as they see fit.

3. Writing the First Draft

Now onto the first draft. This is something the student should do completely on their own. Part of writing an essay entails discovering how to proceed. Often the writing isn’t very good at this stage—what matters is getting something down on the page. Encourage your child to struggle through this process! A first draft doesn’t need to be polished—it just needs to be written down.

Some things the student should keep in mind as they write:

  • An introduction should succinctly explain how the prompt will be addressed and always needs to give the reader a clear roadmap for how the essay will unfold.
  • Each body paragraph needs to directly and clearly address what is being asked in the prompt. If quotes are being used, make sure to focus on textual analysis and explain how the quotes support your ideas.
  • A conclusion must restate the essential points outlined in the essay, but never verbatim, and ideally with some final insight. This could come in the form of a personal experience, an anecdote learned from a book, a pertinent quote, etc.

4. Revising

This is where you should jump back in to help your child. Once the first draft is written, have the student reread it to check for spelling or grammar errors. Students often don’t bother to proofread their writing and should get in the habit of doing this early on. Once the essay is proofed, offer suggestions that you think might make it stronger. If you feel, for example, that one idea is not as fully fleshed out as the others, suggest some ways they might be able to amplify it. If the student has made a grammatical error, don’t just fix it for them—explain why it is a mistake and how it can be avoided in the future.

If your child has some significant changes to make, encourage them to sit back down and do some rewrites. Then come back to the essay together and repeat these steps until you both feel the essay is as strong as it can be.

Student writing

5. Writing the Final Draft

Last but certainly not least, it’s really important to have your child read over the essay one final time to take full ownership of the final product. Have them check for typos, word repetition, unnecessary wordiness, awkward syntax, incorrect punctuation and any other small details they might’ve missed.

There you have it: how to support your child’s essay-writing, while avoiding the tension in helping when it’s not wanted or they're not ready. When you step back into an editor role, you’ll help your child learn to express their ideas, gain confidence, and practice good habits such as outlining and proofreading. With good experiences early on, your child could go on to fall in love with writing, setting themselves up for success in school and life.

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How to teach your children essay writing in 5 steps

When you sit down to teach your children essay writing you might not initially know where to begin. Essay writing is the cornerstone of any education and half or more of the subjects your kids are likely to tackle in their school lifetime will require essay writing skills. Writing tips for kids are something that will take them from being a mediocre student to one that shines. Confidence when writing is something that can truly be learned – very few people are born with this important skill. That’s good news, in fact. Like anything worthwhile doing, all great writing takes is practice and dedication.

How to inspire your kids to love writing

How to Teach Your Children Essay Writing | Easy Essay Tips for Kids

Teach Your Children Essay Writing in 5 Steps

Step 1: start with basics.

Lots of kids aren’t great with grammar. Grammar takes time to learn and many parents and guardians simply don’t correct their young children enough, which is doing them a disservice. Some parents might even find these little mistakes cute, funny or charming – but that’s where very young children get into trouble later in life. Some common grammatical errors made by children are listed by writer Amanda Morin here . Phrases like, ““I goed to the store with Daddy so we could buy traps to catch the mouses ,” or, “I’d rather have cookies then cake.” You need to correct your children and equip them with the basics of spelling and grammar. You don’t have to deliver a massive lecture on writing concepts or run the whole grammar gauntlet in one day. Do this step by step, correct them gently when they make a mistake and select grammar and spelling practices which are appropriate for their grade, age, and essay requirements.

Step 2: Create an outline

When spending time with young children we can see them struggling to find the correct words when speaking; this is even more apparent when they’re tasked with writing. The vast majority of children are not initially confident when expressing their thoughts on paper, so it’s an important step to teach your children essay writing in a sensible way. To help your children with essay writing, teach them how to create a structure of the message or story they want to tell. When they perfect this, creating an outline for an essay becomes easier. Once your kids understand “logical context”, their mission is half accomplished. Impart the importance of structure: an introduction, body of the essay (including arguments and structured thoughts), and a well-thought out conclusion. Have them practise with something fun, such as an age appropriate story or fairytale.

Step 3: Provide examples and practise a lot

Give your kids examples! Children work better when they have some examples of what they are trying to do lying in front of them. This tactic, called “learning by example”, will help your children get more ideas about creating their own essay papers. Work on these together and add some creativity to the task. If your kids are young, find fun examples of coordinated text and ask them to point out what structure a piece of writing has – for example, where the beginning, middle and end is. Make sure you don’t overload your kids with tasks either; do the work in small bursts and keep them engaged. Reward them with something fun, such as stickers or colourful pens, or even a new book or two.

Step 4: Don’t push your kids too much

Essay writing is a very hard and complex task; even most adults find it challenging! Striving for perfection is never the best way to get your children immersed in a writing task. Give them plenty of breaks and lots of encouragement. When they make an error, make sure you are gentle with them so you don’t affect their confidence levels. Setting them up for success in this way will give them more confidence at school. Praise them when they do well and offer positive reinforcement.

Step 5: Read to your children and encourage them to read on their own

It should go without saying but all great writers started as readers. Make reading fun! When kids are little (even from when they are babies) read to them: fairy tales, interesting stories and books designed for kids. Find out what subjects your kids love; they might surprise you! Do they love dinosaurs, science, bugs, or stories about witches and wizards? Choose age appropriate books that they will find a genuine interest in. When you are reading to your children, you’ll notice that they’ll definitely catch some words out of the text, and even remember them almost perfectly. This increases their word capacity and vocabulary. Educate your children to love reading on their own. Give them a couple of different books of one or two genres, and ask their opinions.

Essay writing skills help children throughout their school lives

It’s true – writing can be as difficult a subject to teach and assess as it is to learn and for this reason, you, as a parent, need a lot of patience while teaching your children. Remember to enjoy your time together and build a stronger rapport with your kids. This is where parent involvement can make a big difference to their learning outcomes.

When you teach your children essay writing you are giving them a lifelong skill. Encouraging your children to develop strong writing skills at a young age is worthwhile and may make all the difference to their future school success. Essay writing skills can have a lifelong positive impact on a child’s writing and may make essay writing an easier and more enjoyable process throughout their lives.

Essay writing skills for pre-teens and teens

Once your children reach the age of ten, their essay writing needs may ramp up as school requires more of them. However, some students still struggle with essay writing skills in junior or primary school with one study revealling , that “even with spell check and a thesaurus on hand, just 27% of students are able to write well-developed essays with proper language use.” It might be worthwhile to encourage older children to seek out help and to gain lots of feedback. Advise them to break tasks down into workable sections and give themselves ample time to complete tasks. Use these 12 tips to create a school essay when you get stuck.

12 tips on creating an essay outline and plan

  • Before you begin: Clearly and carefully read the essay task before you begin
  • Beginning, middle & end: Think about narrative, structure and formatting; and then create a writing plan
  • Experts: Remember to include arguments from expert references and highlight your main points with examples
  • Individual expression: Express your own individual thoughts on the essay topic, framed in context of the wider narrative
  • Problem solving: Look to solve problems that arise in different, unique ways (think ‘outside the square’)
  • Thoroughness: Analyse what is required of you and ensure the task has been covered end-to-end

Most school essay requirements are similar, when you break them down to their bare elements. Master these simple points:

  • Cover a topic fully: make sure you consider all relevant arguments and include a sufficient number of individual ideas, based on your research.
  • Be critical! Edit out all info that isn’t necessary to the final draft and be select only the most important arguments for your final essay.
  • Annotate: Find evidence and examples; use thorough research from accredited sources.
  • Planning: Preparing a plan will help you write logically and consistently as well as adhere to the overall essay structure.
  • Proofing: Avoid mistakes; proofread your content at least twice before submitting.
  • Formatting & flow: Make sure you include a strong introduction and satisfying conclusion.

How to Teach Your Children Essay Writing | Easy Essay Tips for Kids

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Tips for Teaching Your Kids How to Write an Essay

Tips for teaching your child how to write essays

By Sandra Miller

Your kids may not be thrilled when they are first faced with an essay writing task, but writing skills are very important for their future educational and emotional development. Although it can be difficult for you to teach them how to write an essay and start loving that activity, your effort won’t be left without results. The most important thing to keep in mind is that children have difficulties in expressing themselves in a structured from that requires crafting strong sentences.

If essay writing is mission impossible for your children and you really want to teach them how to write, you should work on your own skills first. You need an organized and methodical approach that will make it easy for them to understand what you are trying to say.

Start with the basics

The first thing you need to make sure of is that your children have a basic understanding of spelling and grammar concepts, which are appropriate for their grade, age, and essay writing requirements. If your children’s education lacks these building blocks, you will only confuse them with the attempt of teaching them more complicated writing skills. The result will be nothing more than frustration to both you and your children.

After you make sure that their knowledge is ready to be advanced to the essay writing stage, you should start by introducing the concept of a thesis. The first difficulty children face is directing their essays and keeping them focused. If your children struggle with writing concepts, you can provide thesis prompts or thesis statements for them. Once your children advance their writing skills, they will easily think of their own thesis statements. The thesis should be the main point around which the essay is written. Make sure to explain to them that every page, every paragraph, and every sentence within the essay, no matter how short or long it is, should be associated to the thesis statement.

Advanced stages: Creating an outline

The next step of the process is explaining your kids how to create an outline of the writing. The outline will help them maintain the logical progression from the beginning to the end of the paper. Once your kids understand sentence construction, they may have difficulties in keeping the logical context within the paper because they will be focused solely on creating sentence units that are grammatically correct, expressive, and cohesive. You should teach them how to relate those sentences to one another and stick to the outline.

Explain the meaning and purpose of the introductory and concluding paragraphs, and tell them how to structure the paragraphs in between in a logical order.

Key to success: examples and practice

If you provide examples of good essays to your children, they will immediately get ideas on creating their own papers. They won’t understand what you are trying to say if your approach to teaching is based solely on explanations. You need to be as hands-on as your kids need during the development of their first essays. Once they develop an increased confidence in their abilities, they will be able to work on their own. It is easy to find essay examples online and use them to show your kids what works and what doesn’t work in essay writing.

Practice is the key to perfection. There isn’t a more effective way of teaching children how to write essays than helping them practice as many times as possible. You should make the process interesting, so they won’t see it as a torture. Once you provide them with the conceptual foundation of knowledge, you should help them implement that knowledge through practice.

Remember: striving for perfection is out of the question when you’re teaching your kids something. Don’t put too much pressure on them and don’t require impossible achievements. Essay writing is a very useful skill that will increase their vocabulary and improve their skills of grammar, so you should approach the teaching process with those humble goals on your mind.

Sandra Miller

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very helpful. Thank you

Before essay writing my son always looks for examples. Is it bad?

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Wow–Seems like this is a rewrite of this article: http://betsydewey.com/how-to-teach-your-kids-to-write-essays/

There are different writing courses online that can truly provide parents and kids interactive education in terms of writing, grammar and comprehension; doing different types of literary pieces can really give voices to their creative minds and opening an opportunity for their growth. Helpful article!

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Very useful, thanks! Yes, practice is the best approach. But I disagree that essay writing skills is compulsory for everybody. What about tech specializations, if child is a fan of math and physics it’s not good to enforce him to write an essay. Let him do what he want!

Actually, being a fan of maths and physics means you will probably need essay-writing skills MORE. My brother is an engineer, and he just got through telling me how lack of proper organisation and correct language on reports has cost his company thousands of dollars on several occasions. I think we make the mistake of assigning humanities skills only to the humanities and science skills only to the science-driven professions. I work in foreign languages, and these days an engineer. doctor or scientist is as likely (if not more likely) to need a foreign language as a mid-level businessperson. Similarly, engineers, doctors and scientists write many reports both internally and for worldwide consumption. They often have to make presentations, which are based on the same base skills as essay-writing.

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The opportunity to do an Extended Project should be more widespread. More importantly, universities should invest more time and effort in helping students develop the research and writing skills needed at university. There seems to be a fairly common assumption within universities that A-Levels primarily prepare students for university work. They should instead be seen for what they are: qualifications that demonstrate that a student is ready to move to the next, quite different level of education, which will require quite different kinds of learning support.

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How to Help Your Child Learn Writing Skills

Michele Constantini / PhotoAlto / Getty Images

Many kids just aren't that into writing, and it shows in their school work through the years.   You may save your child's cute early writings . But with the exception of homework assignments , writing isn't a big part of our kids' everyday life at home. What can parents do to help their child develop good writing skills during the elementary years?

Start Writing Early

Advancements in educational research shows that reading and writing development are intertwined in early learning.   The physical act of writing letters and early words enhances the child's ability to read. The complementary relationship between reading and writing continues long after these early efforts. Parents enhance their child's skills dramatically by encouraging the writing habit in childhood.  

Follow the lead of early childhood educators by allowing phonetic writing rather than worrying about proper spelling in preschool and kindergarten.  

Focus on the Building Blocks of Good Writing

A rich language environment is a foundation for good writing.   Games and activities that build vocabulary can help increase the range of words your child will know how to write. Word games are classic and fun for families. Now, you can find fun word games online or on mobile apps.

Checking your child's homework for spelling and punctuation errors will reinforce the skills your child is learning at school. When they have a report to write at home, help them take the time to write a first draft that you can check. Then, mark the spelling, capitalization, and punctuation errors for them to correct.

Most middle elementary children are able to use a word processing program to write reports. Teach your child to use the spellchecker.

Provide Tools and Opportunities for Writing

Mechanical pencils, gel pens, and plenty of paper, both lined for your child's grade level and unlined, should be available for spontaneous writing play and projects . Brightly colored note cards and stationery make writing letters and notes to friends and relatives a fun—and regular—writing habit. Let your child write the shopping list before a trip to the store. Encourage journal keeping for special times such as a family trip.   If your child has a creative streak, gifts of writing activity books will help to encourage that talent.

Learn Easy Strategies for Elementary Writing

Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise, co-authors of The Well-Trained Mind , discuss a step-by-step guide to the writing process for teaching elementary students at home.   This includes practicing oral composition by encouraging your child to talk about what it is they are going to write. Children can also learn narration or dictation practice by copying sentences from books or from story dictation onto paper. This teaches sentence and paragraph structure.

Don't be discouraged by your elementary child's lack of writing skills, since every child develops at their own pace. As Julie Bogart, homeschool educator and founder of the online writing program, Brave Writer , states on her blog, "It is much more effective to look at how writers grow naturally than to focus on scope and sequence, grade level, ages, or the types of writing that ought to be done in some “established sequence.”"  

Your child will eventually develop good writing skills over the years with plenty of practice. Help them build their scope of language by encouraging them to talk about everything they're interested in—and then have them write it down. Remember, there's no need to be critical of their creative writing efforts, either. Make the process fun for them and they will foster a love for writing from an early age.

Goldstein D. The New York Times . Why Kids Can’t Write . August 2, 2017.

Lonigan CJ, Allan NP, Lerner MD. Assessment of Preschool Early Literacy Skills: Linking Children's Educational Needs with Empirically Supported Instructional Activities . Psychol Sch . 2011;48(5):488-501. doi:10.1002/pits.20569

James KH, Engelhardt L. The effects of handwriting experience on functional brain development in pre-literate children . Trends Neurosci Educ . 2012;1(1):32-42. doi:10.1016/j.tine.2012.08.001

Ouellette G, Sénéchal M. Invented spelling in kindergarten as a predictor of reading and spelling in Grade 1: A new pathway to literacy, or just the same road, less known? .  Dev Psychol. 2017;53(1):77-88. doi:10.1037/dev0000179

Rodriguez J. Scholastic. How Journaling Benefits Your Child . July 20, 2017.

Wise, Jessie, and Bauer, Susan Wise. The Well-trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home . United Kingdom: W.W. Norton & Company; 2004.

Brave Writer. Natural Stages of Growth in Writing .

By Kimberly L. Keith, M.Ed, LPC Kimberly L. Keith, M.Ed., LPC, is a counselor, parent educator, and advocate for children and families in the court and community.  

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5 Ways to Support Children Learning to Write

Handwriting instruction benefits from exercises that help young children build muscle memory, strength, and dexterity.

Elementary-aged girl writes on paper at home

One of the most common referrals I get as a school-based occupational therapist and evaluator is in regard to students’ difficulty with handwriting skills. These referrals have at least tripled during the pandemic because kids are on the computer more and have less exposure to handwriting practice, pencil-to-paper tasks, and other related activities that build on complex underlying skills that lead to functional handwriting output.

Writing is a developmental and whole-body process. It incorporates all the systems of the body, including the visual-motor, cognitive-perceptual , ocular motor (control of voluntary eye movement), proprioceptive (sense of self-movement and body positioning), and vestibular (balance), and even social and emotional skills and self-regulation. These all need to work together in order in the seemingly simple task of writing, so it’s no wonder that many children find learning to write a challenge.

If you’re an educator, therapist, or caregiver, it’s important to understand why a child might struggle with handwriting, including the underlying skills that can impact functional handwriting legibility. Gross motor skills, fine motor skills, attention, sensory processing, and visual motor skills all play a role.

Over time, strategies that are concrete and routine can build on the underlying component skills connected to the physiological and cognitive mechanics of handwriting.

Introducing Handwriting Strategies

Be sure to introduce therapeutic handwriting strategies when the child is calm and regulated, and make sure they have as much control over the process as possible. For example, ask them what parts of the handwriting process feel difficult, and have them choose the specific supplies or tools they will use to improve their handwriting. Be sure to explain each strategy to them as you are giving them instructions.

Also, be aware of the fact that when a child is struggling with handwriting, it’s often because of a combination of underlying skill component difficulties affecting handwriting (e.g., sensory processing and fine motor, among the others listed below), so they may need a combination of strategies to make progress.

Visual Motor: ‘I-Spy Bean Bag’

An I-spy bean bag can be created out of various materials, including a pencil case filled with small objects such as magnetic refrigerator letters, beads, and even small toys.

Tell the child that when they search for the letters for a sight word (e.g., t-h-e) in an I-spy bean bag, they’re strengthening their eyes and their brain. Then, when they follow up by writing the word, they’re strengthening their eyes and working on their handwriting simultaneously.

Fine Motor: ‘Motor Tool Box’

A motor tool box is a bin of different fun items (e.g., Lego pieces, putty, Play-Doh, and coloring books) that, when handled, can help children build up strength in the small muscles of their hands.

When a child starts to engage with items in the motor tool box, explain to them that doing so helps strengthen the “intrinsic” (inside) muscles of their hands—the muscles that are important for writing.

Attention: ‘Toe Touch Cross’

This is a simple whole-body exercise to do before a child starts writing, especially if they have issues with staying focused. It’s centered around what occupational therapists call crossed midline input , which means that it allows the two sides of the brain to connect. Touch Toe Cross also provides vestibular input, meaning that it engages the balance system and helps keep the body and head steady in space because the head goes below the level of the heart—a calming body posture.

Try telling the child that being focused and calm, while feeling their body, is essential to being able to get their ideas on paper. Tell them to do the following:

1. Stand up with their legs shoulder-width apart.

2. Spread their arms out.

3. Cross their right arm, reaching it across their midsection to touch their left foot.

4. Repeat on the other side.

Sensory Processing: ‘Sensory Bin Writing’

A sensory bin is a tub, bowl, or tray full of rice, moon sand, noodles, or dried beans that a child can “write” in with their fingers, helping them to remember what they write. A sensory bin adds an important tactile aspect that reinforces letter and number shapes in muscle memory.

Have the child choose which material they would like to use, or try different things on different days. They can practice writing letters, numbers, or words with their fingers in the bin. This activity also gives children a sensory break; tell them it’s like a change of scene for when their hands get bored by writing all the time.

Often they like to hear that sensory bin practice is a great strategy to use if their body is feeling wiggly or their mind is becoming overwhelmed.

Gross Motor: ‘Trace the 8’

A simple figure 8 or infinity sign can help guide a child’s hands and build gross motor skills.

Tell the child to picture an “8” lying on its side and pretend that they’ve drawn it. Ask them to picture how it looks and imagine that it’s right in front of them. Tell them to take their right hand and trace the imagined 8 carefully, using the whole arm and the shoulder as well, and then repeat with their left hand. Then they can take both hands together, with one fist on top of the other, and trace over the 8 with both hands. 

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Teach Your Child Essay Writing in 6 Steps

Start with the basics.

Before you dive into that essay you’ll want to make sure your child has a good grasp on basic writing concepts. Grammar and spelling are the foundation on which you can help your child build that first essay. Once you’re satisfied with their understanding of these concepts, begin teaching them what a thesis is, and how to write one. “A lot of kids have trouble writing in a focused way, so help guide them and keep them on track. You’ll probably want to reinforce the idea that the thesis guides everything else they write in their essay,” recommends Paul Winston, educator at PaperFellows .

An outline is a plan or a description of the essay, showing the most important parts of it. Every essay includes an introduction, exposition, and conclusion. Outlines help people get organized when writing, and this should help your child as well. Write down the topic and their main goal which helps them clearly identify their main idea and their opinions about it. There are plenty of outline types out there, so you can easily find one that best suits your child. Then all you have to do is pull it together – creating a list of all the parts that will be in the essay.

Get them practicing

Kick start your child’s creative process by giving them some examples. It’s a lot easier to show them a concrete example, rather than trying to explain what you want them to do. As they practice they will get closer and closer to where you want them to be. Practicing is where the real improvement will come from, but be sure not to overwork them. Give them breaks and reward them for their hard work.

There are plenty of ways in which they can develop their essay writing skills. You just have to find something that sparks their interest. For instance, if your child likes video games, you can ask him to write a report on that. If they like books or comic books or TV shows, ask them to write reports where they'll compare two similar stories etc.

Encourage reading

Reading is a great way for your child to soak up all kinds of information about vocabulary and how sentences work together. The more you read to your child , or they read on their own, the better their writing will become. If they’re just not showing an interest in reading , explore your child’s favorite things in order find the right material. Once you get them interested and reading on their own, you’ll notice them picking up new words, which can be very exciting and rewarding for a parent.

Harness the power of technology

Technology gets a bad rap for distracting kids (and adults) from reading and writing, but technology can be a useful tool in enhancing your child’s experiences with the written word. Pinterest can be useful for the writing process. Your child will be identifying lots of topics and resources they may want to use for their essay, and Pinterest is a fantastic way of organizing those ideas. Just create a few boards and show your child how to pin sources onto a board. You might even find that the reason your child is struggling with an essay is because they prefer using an iPad to writing on paper or a laptop.

Try out these resources for extra help teaching essay writing

Writing can be tricky, and so can teaching writing to children. Check out these online tools for help teaching your children essay writing:

  • StateofWriting & Studydemic

These are grammar resources you can use to check over your child’s writing for grammatical mistakes.

  • Boomessays & Essayroo

These are online proofreading tools, listed by Simplegrad , you can use to make sure your child’s essay is polished and error-free.

  • ViaWriting & Academadvisor

Check out these academic blogs for ideas and suggestions on how to teach your children essay writing. There are lots of posts here by parents who have successfully helped their children with essay writing.

  • Academized & UKWritings

These are editing tools, recommended in Academized review , you can use to go over your child’s writing for typos and other mistakes.

  • My Writing Way & Writing Populist

Check out these essay writing guides for help improving the writing in your child’s essay. If you struggle with writing yourself, these guides can prepare you to help your child with their essay.

Though there might be challenges as you teach your child the methods of essay writing, do your best to make the learning process fun, and eventually your child’s understanding will grow to excelling at essay writing.

about the author... Grace Carter is a teacher at  Big Assignments  and  Assignment Help  services. She teaches academic writing and curates edtech processes. Also, Grace tutors at  OX Essays  writing website. 

How to write a perfect essay

Need to write an essay? Does the assignment feel as big as climbing Mount Everest? Fear not. You’re up to the challenge! The following step-by step tips from the Nat Geo Kids Almanac will help you with this monumental task. 

Sometimes the subject matter of your essay is assigned to you, sometimes it’s not. Either way, you have to decide what you want to say. Start by brainstorming some ideas, writing down any thoughts you have about the subject. Then read over everything you’ve come up with and consider which idea you think is the strongest. Ask yourself what you want to write about the most. Keep in mind the goal of your essay. Can you achieve the goal of the assignment with this topic? If so, you’re good to go.

WRITE A TOPIC SENTENCE

This is the main idea of your essay, a statement of your thoughts on the subject. Again, consider the goal of your essay. Think of the topic sentence as an introduction that tells your reader what the rest of your essay will be about.

OUTLINE YOUR IDEAS

Once you have a good topic sentence, you then need to support that main idea with more detailed information, facts, thoughts, and examples. These supporting points answer one question about your topic sentence—“Why?” This is where research and perhaps more brainstorming come in. Then organize these points in the way you think makes the most sense, probably in order of importance. Now you have an outline for your essay.

ON YOUR MARK, GET SET, WRITE!

Follow your outline, using each of your supporting points as the topic sentence of its own paragraph. Use descriptive words to get your ideas across to the reader. Go into detail, using specific information to tell your story or make your point. Stay on track, making sure that everything you include is somehow related to the main idea of your essay. Use transitions to make your writing flow.

Finish your essay with a conclusion that summarizes your entire essay and 5 restates your main idea.

PROOFREAD AND REVISE

Check for errors in spelling, capitalization, punctuation, and grammar. Look for ways to make your writing clear, understandable, and interesting. Use descriptive verbs, adjectives, or adverbs when possible. It also helps to have someone else read your work to point out things you might have missed. Then make the necessary corrections and changes in a second draft. Repeat this revision process once more to make your final draft as good as you can.

Download the pdf .

Homework help

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How to teach my child to write an essay

Homeschool , Language Arts Homeschool , Subjects

Navigating the internet, you can find multiple articles about the nuances of writing academic essays and improving the writing skills of adults. However, when teaching children the nuances of essay writing, you should be very careful and attentive. The first knowledge on how to write an essay plays a fundamental role in a kid’s development and further learning.

Thus, the techniques, secrets, and explanations should be as effective as possible. So, when asking yourself, “how do I teach my child to write an essay?” be ready for not-so-hard and exciting work ahead! Also, don’t forget to get computer science assignmen t help or you can find more information on assignment topics to be more free while studying.

The first knowledge of essay writing plays a fundamental role in a kid’s development and further learning.

Before starting an essay writing journey

Before teaching kids details of essay learning, the initial work is crucial. Although writing skills and techniques are important, a child should know the benefit of writing essays, how to enjoy the process of writing, and what opportunities are available if one succeeds in this activity. For example, understanding the role of a  custom essay writing service  can provide insights into professional writing standards and the various styles and structures used in essays.

Thus, before exploring working tips, let’s have a look at several actions that would prepare the groundwork for the smooth and entertaining teaching:

  • Start with familiarizing a kid with the genre of the essay. Find what a child likes the most – stories about wizards or space, adventures or nature, and encourage one’s interest in the genre. Further, tell a kid that anyone can create such captivating texts – it’ll boost their confidence and commitment.
  • Become a kid’s superhero – show by your example that writing essays is cool, and many adults do it. Besides, regular writing can be your way of emotional recharging and memory stimulation and even prevent mental health problems!
  • Train to write essays without rules : indeed, further, you’ll know how to teach your child to craft essays according to standard requirements, but it’s good to start with something easy. For example, make a deal that you and your kid will write an essa y together or individually, describing the weekend or vacation you’ve spent together. First and foremost, demonstrate that essay writing can be fun!
  • You must have patience and encourage your kid even if they make mistakes : after all, our falls teach us something new.

The first knowledge of essay writing plays a fundamental role in a kid’s development and further learning.

Simplicity and basics of essay writing with kids

So, you’ll start wondering: “how to teach my kid to write an essay, and where should I begin?.” The key to success lies in the basics of essay writing. First, start with evaluating your kid’s writing skills and knowledge.

For instance, assign them to write an essay on any subject and analyze the text together. Explore grammatical errors (often, children repeat their mistakes), and look at the essay’s structure and construction of sentences.

After you work on errors, it is paramount that you teach your kid to:

  • Create an outline. This prewriting phase of crafting an essay saves a bunch of time and allows writing the text without losing your way. So, basically, an outline is the plan of your future text – it represents the structure of the essay, including a number of paragraphs, introduction, topic sentences, and conclusion. Due to the outline, your kid won’t be distracted and will stick to the initial plan.
  • Develop an insightful thesis statement. In this last sentence in the introductory paragraph, your kid will present the central thought of the essay; therefore, practice creating concise and informative thesis statements.
  • Keep the balance. In most cases, essay writing includes strict requirements. The word count, topic, and type of essay are the essential orienteers that an instructor can change. However, there’s an aspect that remains forever stable: your kid’s essay should be balanced. The paragraph size should be the same, and the introduction and conclusion should not exceed the word count of one paragraph. Such nuances are simple to memorize and effectively implement!
  • Analyze different sources. Writing essay s often requires learners to read various articles, blogs, or books to craft a response or discussion essay. Therefore, teach your kid to assess various materials: read a piece together and discuss how it relates to the assigned topic. Alternatively, ask your kid to browse the web and find several articles on the same issue. Markedly, technology is one of the greatest advantages for today’s adults and children!

After learning these fundamentals and practicing several times, your child won’t have any difficulty crafting essays. You won’t have to relive this shiver of hesitation asking yourself, “how to help my child write an essay?” a hundred times.

The first knowledge of essay writing plays a fundamental role in a kid’s development and further learning.

Other effective tips for teaching a child to write an essay

None of us is born a genuine mentor or teacher able to teach a kid to be an excellent writer easily. However, due to some effective tips, even a person with no prior experience in writing can explain to a kid the nuances of writing and, more importantly, explain how to write with joy!

So, pay attention to such recommendations: ● Encourage your kid to read. Don’t limit yourself to essays – any text, either scientific or fiction, can significantly expand one’s vocabulary. ● Share your experience of writing essays when you were a student. Tell your kid what you liked about the process, which topics inspired you, or what writing strategies you used. ● Practice writing by composing essays about your child’s favorite movies or series. For example, assign them to write a response essay after each watched episode. You’ll notice the progress even in the middle of season one! ● Luckily, we live in a digital age when maintaining quality educational assistance is a piece of cake! If you feel that your confidence and experience are not enough, feel free to use the help of expert writing services, whose specialists possess great experience in creating papers of various formats and can consult you about crafting original and properly structured essays. Thus, if you still feel a little lost when your kid again asks you, “please, help me to write my essay!” there’s no nothing to worry about.

If you’ve ever asked yourself the question, “how can my child learn how to write an essay?” Now you’ve got numerous working tips that can help you and your child genuinely enjoy writing essays.

After learning the basics of writing essays, your kid will approach the assignment without a shadow of a writing block or discomfort. And becoming a creative writer will not take long – when a kid is surrounded by support, exciting topics, and interesting practice options, one is definitely about to succeed!

You might also like this on how to write an essay:

How to choose a topic for a research paper

The Best Homeschool Writing Curriculum

How To Create A Children’s Learning Nook

The Best Way for Children to Learn to Write Cursive {Free Printables}

The Best Free Printable Sentence Strips for Sentence Starters

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Helping Your Child Write an Essay without Meltdowns: Tips and Strategies

Helping Your Child Write an Essay without Meltdowns: Tips and Strategies

Writing an essay can be an amazing opportunity for your child to express their unique personality and showcase their writing skills. Whether it’s for school-related assignments, college admissions, or personal growth, being able to effectively communicate their thoughts and ideas through writing is a valuable skill that will serve them well throughout their lives.

But let’s be honest, writing an essay can sometimes feel like a daunting task. The pressure of deadlines, the fear of not knowing where to start, and the overwhelming blank page can make even the most talented writers feel stuck. That’s where you come in as a parent – to provide the guidance and support needed to help your child overcome any writing meltdown and make the essay writing process a more enjoyable and successful experience.

So, what are some tips and strategies you can use to help your child write an essay without meltdowns? First and foremost, it’s important to understand the prompt or topic at hand. Take the time to thoroughly read and discuss it together, making sure your child grasps the main points and what is expected of them. This will give them a clear direction and help them brainstorm ideas.

Next, encourage your child to do some research and gather relevant information to support their ideas. This can include reading books, articles, or even reaching out to experts or professionals in the field they’re writing about. By being well-informed, they’ll be able to convey their thoughts more convincingly and create a more coherent and well-rounded essay.

When it comes to the actual writing process, remind your child to start with an outline. This will help them structure their thoughts and ideas in a logical and organized manner. Encourage them to write a draft without worrying about perfection – they can always go back and revise later. It’s important for them to understand that writing is a process, and it’s okay to make mistakes along the way.

As a parent, it’s crucial to provide constructive feedback and encouragement throughout the process. Highlight their strengths and offer suggestions for improvement. By acknowledging their efforts and giving them specific feedback, you can help boost their confidence and motivation.

Remember, the goal is not only to help your child write a great essay but also to foster a love for writing and a sense of accomplishment. By providing them with the tools and support they need, you’ll empower them to become confident and effective writers who can navigate any future writing challenges that come their way.

What Are We Looking for in Your Essays

We want to see that you have put thought and effort into your essay and that it is a true representation of your personality and thought process . Your essay should stand out from the others, not because of fancy words or impressive vocabulary, but because it gives us insight into who you are as an individual.

One thing we are always on the lookout for is originality . While there are definitely popular topics, such as overcoming adversity or the impact of a significant event, we want to hear your unique perspective and experience. Don’t be afraid to break away from the mold and write about something that truly matters to you.

Also, keep in mind that we are not just looking for the perfect essay , but rather an essay that fits what we’re looking for. We are not looking for one specific type of essay or prompt, but rather a well-written and thoughtful essay that addresses the prompt you have chosen.

Remember that your essay is just one part of your application, and we are also considering your transcript, test scores, extracurricular activities, and other requirements . Your essay is a chance to stand out and show us something new and different about yourself.

Ultimately, we are looking for applicants who can think critically and express themselves effectively through their writing. We want to get a sense of your voice and how you think about the world around you.

Before you even start writing your essay, it’s important to create a draft. This initial draft will serve as a rough version of your essay, allowing you to get your thoughts down on paper without worrying about perfection. Once your draft is complete, it should be reviewed and revised for clarity and coherence.

In the world of essay writing, there are two main worlds to consider: the world of the writer and the world of the reader. As the writer, it’s your job to make sure that your essay is engaging and holds the reader’s attention. To do this, it’s important to stick to your main topic and ensure that your essay flows smoothly from start to finish.

If you’re having trouble transferring your thoughts into words, don’t worry! Sometimes, it takes a bit of time and effort to get started. Give yourself permission to be imperfect, and remember that editing and revising are a normal part of the writing process.

Technology can also play a role in the transfer of thoughts from your mind to the page. There are many online tools available that can assist with creating outlines, organizing ideas, and even generating topic suggestions. These resources can help streamline the writing process and ensure that your thoughts are presented in a logical and cohesive manner.

When it comes to transferring your essay to someone else, it’s important to consider the purpose and audience of your writing. For example, if you are submitting your essay for college applications, it should be thoroughly reviewed and edited before sending it off. You may even want to have someone else, such as a teacher or parent, review your essay for additional feedback.

In addition to transferring your thoughts effectively, it’s also important to consider the tone and style of your writing. Depending on the purpose of your essay, you may need to adjust your writing style to match the expectations of the audience. For example, if you are writing a formal essay for a college application, a more professional tone may be appropriate.

Overall, transferring your thoughts from your mind to paper is an essential skill for any writer. By following these tips and strategies, you can become more adept at this process and create amazing essays that resonate with your audience.

Essay Topics

Coming up with a good essay topic can be a challenge, whether you’re a student or a parent helping your child. The topic you choose sets the tone for the entire essay and can make a big difference in how engaged and interested the reader will be. Here are some tips to help you find the perfect essay topic:

1. Know your audience

Consider who will be reading the essay – is it for a teacher, college admissions counselor, or a wider audience? This will help you determine the tone, level of complexity, and subject matter for your essay.

2. Explore your interests

If you’re given the opportunity to choose your own topic, think about what you’re passionate about. Whether it’s art, society, or a particular book, writing about something you genuinely care about will make the essay more enjoyable to write and read.

3. Brainstorm ideas

Take some time to jot down any ideas that come to mind. Think about your personal experiences, current events, or even hypothetical scenarios. Don’t limit yourself – let your creativity flow.

4. Research the prompts

If you’re given specific essay prompts, thoroughly analyze them and make sure you understand what is being asked. Research different angles and interpretations before choosing the one that resonates with you the most.

5. Consider unique perspectives

Instead of writing about a popular topic, try to approach it from a different angle or consider a less explored perspective. This will make your essay stand out and show that you can think critically.

6. Personal experiences

Writing about your own experiences can be a powerful way to connect with the reader. Reflect on moments that have shaped you, challenges you’ve overcome, or lessons you’ve learned.

7. Additional research

If you’re having trouble coming up with a topic, do some additional research. Look at essay topics from other writers, online resources, or even ask for suggestions from friends, family, or teachers.

Remember, the essay is your chance to show admissions counselors or readers who you truly are, beyond test scores and transcripts. Choose a topic that showcases your unique perspective and experiences, and don’t be afraid to take risks. With these tips and a well-thought-out topic, you’ll be well on your way to crafting an engaging and impactful essay without any meltdowns.

Additional Essay Topics for Spring 2024 Applicants

As the spring application season approaches, many high school seniors are starting to think about their college essays. While some students may already have a clear idea of what they want to write about, others may find themselves struggling to come up with a topic. If you’re looking for some inspiration, below are a few additional essay topics to consider:

1. Write about a time when you were faced with a difficult decision. What factors did you consider and how did you ultimately make your choice?

2. Describe an experience that you had in a studio or workshop setting. What did you learn from working with others and how did it shape your understanding of collaboration?

3. Share a personal story about a time when you had to overcome an obstacle. How did you find the strength to keep going, and what did you learn about yourself in the process?

4. Discuss a book, movie, or TV show that has had a significant impact on your life. How has it influenced your thoughts and perspectives?

5. Reflect on a time when you had to adapt to a new environment or culture. What challenges did you face and how did you grow as a result?

Lastly, don’t stress too much about finding the perfect topic. Sometimes the best essays come from unexpected places, so be open to exploring different ideas. Just remember to stay true to yourself and your experiences, and you’ll be well on your way to writing a great college essay!

I Really Didn’t Want to Write This Promotional Essay Tied to My Book Release

But in my case, I really didn’t want to write this essay tied to my book release. You see, I’ve spent countless hours working on my book, pouring all my thoughts and ideas onto the pages, and now that it’s finally out there for public consumption, the last thing I want to do is sit down and write about it again.

There’s a reason why being a mind reader is both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, it means that I can understand exactly what my readers are thinking and what they want to hear from me. On the other hand, it means that I constantly feel the pressure to contribute something valuable, something that will make a difference.

But here I am, writing this essay for you because I know that you’re looking for some advice and guidance when it comes to helping your child write an essay. And even though I really didn’t want to do it, I’ll stick with it because I know that it’s important.

As a counselor for college applicants, I’ve seen firsthand just how important the essay is in the application process. Deadlines loom, applications pile up, and there’s always that one prompt that stumps the students. But trust me, we’ve all been there.

Writing an essay is not always easy. It takes time, effort, and a lot of brainstorming to figure out what to write about. But it’s important to remember that the essay is your child’s chance to stand out from the crowd, to show the admissions counselors who they really are.

So, what does all of this mean for you? It means that you’re not alone in this process. There are resources available to help you and your child along the way. Whether it’s seeking advice from a teacher or a counselor, or using technology to your advantage, there are ways to make the essay-writing process a little bit easier.

One thing I always tell my students is to focus on being themselves. It’s easy to get caught up in what you think the admissions counselors want to hear, but at the end of the day, they’re looking for authenticity. Encourage your child to write in their own voice, to share their own opinions, and to tell their own story.

Remember, the essay is not just about the topic at hand. It’s about creating a connection with the reader, about showing a glimpse into your child’s world. So don’t be afraid to get a little personal, to share a story that makes your child unique.

In this absurd world of transcripts and standardized tests, the essay is one of the few opportunities your child has to fully express themselves. So give them the freedom to do so, and support them every step of the way.

1. What should I write about?

Encourage your child to choose a topic that they are passionate about. It could be something they have experienced or a subject they are interested in learning more about.

2. How long should my essay be?

The length of the essay will depend on the requirements set by the teacher or school. Make sure your child understands the guidelines and knows how to fully develop their ideas within the given word count.

3. What if I don’t know anything about the topic?

Assure your child that research is key. Encourage them to read books, articles, and watch documentaries on the subject. By doing so, they will gain a deeper understanding and be able to present well-informed arguments.

4. How do I start my essay?

5. What if I get stuck while writing?

It’s common to encounter writer’s block at times. Remind your child to take short breaks, go for a walk, or engage in activities that relax their mind. This will help them come back with a fresh perspective and new ideas.

6. How can I make my essay more interesting?

Suggest that your child incorporates personal anecdotes, examples, or even art-based elements within their essay. This will make it more engaging to read and showcase their creativity.

7. Should I let someone else read my essay before submitting it?

Encourage your child to have someone else, such as a teacher or counselor, read their essay before submitting it. Another person’s perspective can provide valuable feedback and help them improve their writing.

8. What if I don’t meet all the requirements?

If your child realizes they haven’t met all the requirements, advise them to go back and revise their essay. It’s always better to make necessary adjustments before submitting it.

9. How can I stand out from other applicants?

Encourage your child to let their personality shine through their writing. They should showcase what makes them unique and highlight their individual strengths and qualities.

10. What if I’m not a strong writer?

Reassure your child that writing is a skill that can be improved with practice. Provide them with tips and advice, and let them know that even the most amazing writers started somewhere.

Remember, it’s important to be patient and supportive throughout the essay-writing process. By answering their questions and providing guidance, you can help your child write an essay that truly reflects their thoughts and ideas.

Short Answers

When it comes to writing short answers , there are a few important things to keep in mind:

Short answers can come in various formats, such as filling out forms, responding to multiple-choice questions, or writing brief essays. Regardless of the format, remember to focus on the task at hand and provide concise and relevant answers.

How can I help my child write an essay without having meltdowns?

You can help your child by breaking the essay into smaller tasks, providing a quiet and comfortable environment for writing, and offering guidance and support throughout the process. Encourage them to brainstorm ideas, create an outline, and revise their work. Celebrate their achievements and provide positive reinforcement to keep them motivated.

What are some tips and strategies for submitting essays?

When submitting essays, make sure to carefully read and follow the instructions provided by the university or organization. Pay attention to deadlines and allow ample time for proofreading and editing. Ensure that the essay addresses the prompt effectively and showcases your unique perspective and experiences. Lastly, remember to double-check for any formatting or technical requirements before submitting.

What is the importance of short answers in essays?

Short answers in essays serve the purpose of providing concise and specific responses to questions or prompts. They allow applicants to demonstrate their critical thinking skills, communication abilities, and knowledge in a succinct manner. These short answers often complement the longer essay and provide a well-rounded view of the applicant’s qualifications and potential.

How can I come up with interesting essay topics?

To come up with interesting essay topics, you can start by reflecting on your personal experiences, interests, and values. Consider any challenges or transformative moments in your life that could make for compelling essay material. You can also research current events, social issues, or even explore different literary works for inspiration. The key is to choose a topic that resonates with you and allows you to showcase your unique perspective.

What are some common mistakes to avoid when writing an essay?

When writing an essay, it is important to avoid common mistakes such as neglecting to proofread and edit your work, using overly complex language or jargon, and failing to address the prompt effectively. Also, be cautious of plagiarism and correctly cite any sources used. It is crucial to stay focused and organized, present a clear and coherent argument, and showcase your own voice and personality throughout the essay.

Alex Koliada, PhD

By Alex Koliada, PhD

Alex Koliada, PhD, is a well-known doctor. He is famous for studying aging, genetics, and other medical conditions. He works at the Institute of Food Biotechnology and Genomics. His scientific research has been published in the most reputable international magazines. Alex holds a BA in English and Comparative Literature from the University of Southern California , and a TEFL certification from The Boston Language Institute.

how to help your child write essay

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How to Remove Hurdles to Writing for Students with ADHD

Half of all kids with adhd struggle with writing, which can make every assignment — from straightforward worksheets to full-length essays — feel like torture. boost your child’s skills with these 18 strategies for school and home..

Chris Zeigler Dendy, M.S.

Studies suggest that more than half of children with attention deficit disorder ( ADHD or ADD ) struggle with writing. These students may have an overflow of creative ideas , but often struggle when it comes to getting these ideas onto paper.

Children with ADHD have a hard time getting started — and following through — on writing assignments because they have difficulty picking essay topics, locating appropriate resources, holding and manipulating information in their memory, organizing and sequencing the material, and getting it down on paper — all before they forget what they wanted to say.

But these hurdles don’t have to stop them from writing. Discuss the following ADHD writing strategies with your child’s teacher so you can work together to ease the difficulties attention deficit children have with writing.

Solutions in the Classroom: Guide the Writing Process

—Set up a note system. Ask the student to write her notes about a topic on individual sticky notes. She can then group the notes together that feature similar ideas so she’ll be able to easily identify the major concepts of the subject from the groupings.

—Start small and build skills. Ask students with ADHD to write a paragraph consisting of only two or three sentences. As their skills improve, the students can start writing several paragraphs at a time.

[ Free Download: 18 Writing Tricks for Students with ADHD ]

—Demonstrate essay writing. With the use of an overhead projector, write a paragraph or an entire essay in front of the class, explaining what you are doing at each step. Students can assist you by contributing sentences as you go. Students with ADHD are often visual learners , and tend to do better when they see the teacher work on a task.

—Give writing prompts. Students with ADHD usually don’t generate as many essay ideas as their peers. Help the children with ADHD increase their options for essay assignments by collecting materials that stimulate choices. Read a poem, tell a story, show pictures in magazines, newspapers, or books.

If the student is still struggling to get started, help him by sitting down and talking about the assignment with him. Review his notes from the brainstorming session and ask, “What are some ways you could write the first sentence?” If he doesn’t have an answer, say, “Here’s an idea. How would you write that in your own words?”

—Encourage colorful description. Students with ADHD often have difficulty “dressing up” their written words. Help them add adjectives and use stronger, more active verbs in sentences.

[ How Teens with Learning Differences Can Defeat Writing Challenges ]

—Explain the editing process. Students with ADHD have a hard time writing to length and often produce essays that are too short and lacking in details. Explain how the use of adjectives and adverbs can enhance their composition. Show them how to use a thesaurus, too.

Solutions in the Classroom: Use Accommodations Where Necessary

—Allow enough time. Students with ADHD, especially those with the inattentive subtype, may take longer to process information and should receive extended time to complete assignments.

—Don’t grade early work. Sensitive students are discouraged by negative feedback as they are developing their writing skills. Wait until the paper is finished before assigning it a grade.

—Don’t deduct points for poor handwriting or bad grammar. Unless an assignment is specifically measuring handwriting and grammar skills, when a child is working hard to remember and communicate, let some things slide.

—Use a graphic organizer. A graphic organizer organizes material visually in order to help with memory recall. Distribute pre-printed blank essay forms that students with ADHD can fill in, so they’ll reserve their efforts for the most important task — writing the essay.

—Grade limited essay elements. To encourage writing mastery and avoid overwhelming students, grade only one or two elements at any given time. For example, “This week, I’m grading subject-verb agreement in sentences.” Tighter grading focus channels students’ attention to one or two writing concepts at a time.

Solutions at Home

—Encourage journals. Have your child write down his thoughts about outings to the movies, visits with relatives, or trips to museums. Add some fun to the activity by asking your child to e-mail you his thoughts or text-message you from his cell phone.

—Assist with essay topic selection. Children with ADHD have difficulty narrowing down choices and making decisions. Help your student by listening to all of his ideas and writing down three or four of his strongest topics on cards. Next, review the ideas with him and have him eliminate each topic, one by one – until only the winner is left.

—Brainstorm. Once the topic is identified, ask him for all the ideas he thinks might be related to it. Write the ideas on sticky notes, so he can cluster them together into groupings that will later become paragraphs. He can also cut and paste the ideas into a logical sequence on the computer.

—Stock up on books, movies, games. These materials will introduce new vocabulary words and stimulate thinking. Explore these with your child and ask him questions about them to solicit his views.

—Be your child’s “scribe.” Before your child loses his idea for the great American novel, or for his next English assignment, have him dictate his thoughts to you as you write them out by hand or type them into the computer. As his skills improve over time, he’ll need less of your involvement in this process.

—Go digital. Children with ADHD often write slower than their classmates. Encourage your child to start the writing process on a computer. This way, she’ll keep her work organized and won’t misplace her essay before it’s finished. Also, by working on the computer she can easily rearrange the order of sentences and paragraphs in a second draft.

—Remind your child to proofread. Let your child know that he’ll be able to catch errors if he proofreads his rough draft before handing it in.

High-Tech Writing Helpers for Kids with ADHD

Portable word processor

These battery-operated devices look like a computer keyboard with a small calculator screen. Light and durable, portable word processors can be used at school for note-taking and writing assignments. Back home, files can be transferred to a PC or Mac. Basic models cost about $20.

Speech-recognition software

how to help your child write essay

Word-prediction software

Software such as Co:Writer Solo ($325) helps with spelling and builds vocabulary, providing a drop-down list of words from which a student can choose. It also fills in words to speed composition. Some programs read sentences aloud, so the writer can hear what he has written and catch mistakes as they occur.

Electronic spell-checkers and dictionaries

Enter a word phonetically, and these portable gadgets define the word and provide the correct spelling. Talking devices read the words aloud. Franklin Electronics offers models beginning at about $20.

[ The Common Problems that Lead to Writer’s Block ]

Chris Zeigler Dendy, M.S., is a member of ADDitude’s  ADHD Medical Review Panel .

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How to Help Your Children Improve Their Writing

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Transform your child into a truly confident author using “Pattern Based Writing: Quick and Easy Essay!

Should you help your child with writing? YES. The Office of Educational Research and Improvement (OERI) suggests that you help your child with writing. OERI believes you, a parent, can make a big difference. You can use helping strategies that are simple and fun. You can use them to help your child learn to write well–and to enjoy doing it!

Helping your child with writing will help your child to: • Do well in school • Enjoy self-expression • Become more self-reliant

You know how important writing will be to your child’s life. It will be important from first-grade through college and throughout adulthood.

Unfortunately, “many schools are unable to give children sufficient instruction in writing.” There are various reasons: teachers aren’t trained to teach writing skills, writing classes may be too large, it’s often difficult to measure writing skills, etc.

Study after study shows that students’ writing lacks clarity, coherence, and organization. Only a few students can write persuasive essays or competent business letters. As many as one out of four have serious writing difficulties. And students say they like writing less and less as they go through school.

Things to Know about Student Writing

Writing is more than putting words on paper. It’s a final stage in the complex process of communicating that begins with “thinking.” Writing is an especially important stage in communication, the intent being to leave no room for doubt. Has any country ratified a verbal treaty?

One of the first means of communication for your child is through drawing. Do encourage the child to draw and to discuss his/her drawings. Ask questions: What is the boy doing? Does the house look like ours? Can you tell a story about this picture?

Most children’s basic speech patterns are formed by the time they enter school. By that time children speak clearly, recognize most letters of the alphabet, and may try to write. Show an interest in, and ask questions about, the things your child says, draws, and may try to write.

Writing well requires:

• Clear thinking. Sometimes the child needs to have his/her memory refreshed about a past event in order to write about it. • Sufficient time. Children may have `stories in their heads’ but need time to think them through and write them down. School class periods are often not long enough. • Reading. Reading can stimulate a child to write about his/her own family or school life. If your child reads good books, (s)he will be a better writer. • A Meaningful Task. A child needs meaningful, not artificial writing tasks. You’ll find suggestions for such tasks in the section, “Things To Do.” • Interest. All the time in the world won’t help if there is nothing to write, nothing to say. Some of the reasons for writing include: sending messages, keeping records, expressing feelings, or relaying information. • Practice. And more practice. • Revising. Students need experience in revising their work– i.e, seeing what they can do to make it clearer, more descriptive, more concise, etc.

Pointers for Parents in Helping Their Child Write Better

In helping your child to learn to write well, remember that your goal is to make writing easier and more enjoyable.

Provide a place. It’s important for a child to have a good place to write–a desk or table with a smooth, flat surface and good lighting.

Have the materials. Provide plenty of paper–lined and unlined–and things to write with, including pencils, pens, and crayons.

Allow time. Help your child spend time thinking about a writing project or exercise. Good writers do a great deal of thinking. Your child may dawdle, sharpen a pencil, get papers ready, or look up the spelling of a word. Be patient–your child may be thinking.

Respond. Do respond to the ideas your child expresses verbally or in writing. Make it clear that you are interested in the true function of writing which is to convey ideas. This means focusing on “what” the child has written, not “how” it was written. It’s usually wise to ignore minor errors, particularly at the stage when your child is just getting ideas together.

Don’t you write it! Don’t write a paper for your child that will be turned in as his/her work. Never rewrite a child’s work. Meeting a writing deadline, taking responsibility for the finished product, and feeling ownership of it are important parts of writing well.

Praise. Take a positive approach and say something good about your child’s writing. Is it accurate? Descriptive? Thoughtful? Interesting? Does it say something?

Things to Do to Help Your Child Write Better

Make it real. Your child needs to do real writing. It’s more important for the child to write a letter to a relative than it is to write a one-line note on a greeting card. Encourage the child to write to relatives and friends. Perhaps your child would enjoy corresponding with a pen pal.

Suggest note-taking. Encourage your child to take notes on trips or outings and to describe what (s)he saw. This could include a description of nature walks, a boat ride, a car trip, or other events that lend themselves to note-taking.

Brainstorm. Talk with your child as much as possible about his/her impressions and encourage the child to describe people and events to you. If the child’s description is especially accurate and colorful, say so.

Encourage keeping a journal. This is excellent writing practice as well as a good outlet for venting feelings. Encourage your child to write about things that happen at home and school, about people (s)he likes or dislikes and why, things to remember or things the child wants to do. Especially encourage your child to write about personal feelings–pleasures as well as disappointments. If the child wants to share the journal with you, read the entries and discuss them–especially the child’s ideas and perceptions.

Write together. Have your child help you with letters, even such routine ones as ordering items from an advertisment or writing to a business firm. This helps the child to see firsthand that writing is important to adults and truly useful.

Use games. There are numerous games and puzzles that help a child to increase vocabulary and make the child more fluent in speaking and writing. Remember, building a vocabulary builds confidence. Try crossword puzzles, word games, anagrams and cryptograms de- signed especially for children. Flash cards are good, too, and they’re easy to make at home.

Suggest making lists. Most children like to make lists just as they like to count. Encourage this. Making lists is good practice and helps a child to become more organized. Boys and girls might make lists of their records, tapes, baseball cards, dolls, furniture in a room, etc. They could include items they want. It’s also good practice to make lists of things to do, schoolwork, dates for tests, social events, and other reminders.

Encourage copying. If a child likes a particular song, suggest learning the words by writing them down–replaying the song on your stereo/tape player or jotting down the words whenever the song is played on a radio program. Also encourage copying favorite poems or quotations from books and plays.

In order to transform your child into a confident author, be sure to check out the “ Pattern Based Writing: Quick and Easy Essay” school and home study program .

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How to Write an Essay for Kids

How to Write an Essay for Kids? A Complete Guide for all the Basics Steps and Outline

While essay writing is an integral part of your children’s academic life, it also helps them to achieve great heights in the real world. Writing a good piece is a skill for life as it is used in every aspect, whether it be a job resume or an email, and practising essay writing is an excellent way to hone your writing skills.

Before knowing how to write an essay for kids, let’s look at the five benefits of composing good essays that may not be known to you:

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Improves Reading Ability

Children who show an early interest in writing will ultimately enjoy reading, according to experts. Reading and writing are deeply connected. Early writing instruction helps children learn word arrangement and coherence of thoughts which will pay off while reading.

Brain Development

Handwriting is essential for brain development and cognition, which is why children should be taught to write. The process of writing activates the brain areas responsible for critical thinking, logical reasoning and problem-solving.

Thoughts can be Organised

An organised way of thinking is necessary for writing essays with a clear beginning, middle, and end. So, if a kid sits to write, they will be focusing on organising their thoughts to create a good piece.

Improves Memory

The most effective way for students to learn their material is to write it down on a piece of paper. Your child will be more confident in their abilities to memorise a subject if they are better at writing. Doing writing exercises regularly will improve memory power, and it is likely that their grades also improve in the long run.

Writing Boosts Creativity and Imagination

To write well, your child needs to use both logical thinking and creative imagination. Writing puts both the right and left brain into action as they set out to find a way to create something easy for another person to read and understand. Writing allows them to explore ideas and possibilities, make up new stories, and do anything else they can dream of.

How to Write an Essay for Kids?

Step 1: ask your kid to brainstorm and research.

The first and foremost step to create any piece of good writing is consuming as much information as possible about the topic. This helps them look at different information and analyse things in their own way.Ask your child to brainstorm a few ideas, write down any thoughts about the subject, and look for other ideas in books or videos. Then tell them to figure out their strongest of thoughts that will convey their writing goals clearly.

Also Read: Best Online Coding Classes for Kids: A Complete Guide to Get the Best

Step 2: Tell Them to Make a Rough Outline

The outline is the base of an essay, and it saves a lot of time. It is great for structuring and organising ideas in a thoughtful and sequential flow. This approach allows your child to choose appropriate information or quotes from sources before writing, which gives them a solid foundation for a good writing assignment. Moreover, developing these ideas will make it easier for you to write your essays.

How to Write an Essay Outline for Kids?

If you are confused, then go with these basic rules:

#1. The Introduction

Discuss the topic of your essay and its theme in this part. Giving the views on the theme of the essay is crucial as it helps you support it in each paragraph of your essay body.

#2. Body Paragraphs

The body of the essay will have at least three paragraphs. Each paragraph should contain a topic sentence followed by an argument related to the theme. Here, discuss all the supporting evidence such as data, facts and examples to substantiate the topic.

But, if your kid has just started writing, adding one body paragraph is enough to practice. According to their improvement, they could include as many as they want.

#3. The Conclusion

Last but not least, come up with a conclusion that is the logical outcome of the body of the essay. It is important to end an essay while maintaining the flow. Here, put the finishing touches on the essay. Briefly summarise the topic and the objective of the essay.

Step 3: It’s Time for Your Kids to Write

You should tell them to follow their outline and write down each supporting point in an individual paragraph. Encourage them to use descriptive words to put their ideas across clearly to the reader. Also, going into detail, using specific information to elaborate on a point can help. Introduce your kids to transition words; this helps in maintaining the flow of the structure.

Lastly, staying on track is the key to making sure everything included is somehow related to the essay’s main idea.

How to Write Conclusion for an Essay for Kids?

While writing the conclusion of the essay, your child should keep in mind the following points:

#1. Do not repeat the introduction in this part.

#2. Do not add new content or arguments.

#3. Do not end it too abruptly.

The following points can help them write a good conclusion:

#1. Start by examining the content of each paragraph.

#2. Refer to the introductory paragraph for guidance.

#3. Leaving a note which makes the reader ponder makes the conclusion thought-provoking.

How to Write a 5 Paragraph Essay for Kids?

Here is the proper outline of writing a 5 paragraph essay:

1. Introduction

Introduce the topic and explain the theme

2. Body Paragraph One

Write the main sentence by supporting them with examples or facts. Also, explain the logical connection of those examples and facts with the theme of the essay.

3. Body Paragraph Two

Write the other main sentence by supporting them with examples or facts. Explain the logical connection of those examples and facts with the essay’s theme in this paragraph too.

4. Body Paragraph Three

Repeat the process mentioned in the outline for body paragraphs one and two.

5. Conclusion

Summarise all the main points of the essay and write a logical outcome that incites the reader to think.

How Your Kids Can Learn Essay Writing with The Real School Of Montessori?

We hope that this article cleared your doubts on how you can teach essay writing to your kids. For better guidance on essay writing for kids, check out the Real School Of Montessori website.

In this new age school, mentors provide one-on-one teaching and make sure your child receives a comprehensive education in different subjects. What makes Real School Of Montessori unique is that they have real-world goals. This will allow your child to become problem solvers, thinkers, and innovators through personalised,  project-based learning.

Book a masterclass now and give your kid a taste of a fun learning environment.

Also Read: Scratch Coding for Kids: Simplifying the Concepts of Coding for Super Kids

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Shilpa is a professional web content writer and is in deep love with travelling. She completed her mass communication degree and is now dedicatedly playing with words to guide her readers to get the best for themselves. Developing educational content for UPSC, IELTS aspirants from breakthrough research work is her forte. Strongly driven by her zodiac sign Sagittarius, Shilpa loves to live her life on her own notes and completely agrees with the idea of ‘live and let live. Apart from writing and travelling, most of the time she can be seen in the avatar of 'hooman' mom to her pets and street dogs or else you can also catch her wearing the toque blanche and creating magic in the kitchen on weekends.

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10 tips for improving teens’ writing

by: The GreatSchools Editorial Team | Updated: November 21, 2023

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10 tips for improving teens’ writing

When your teen is struggling with a writing assignment, it can be hard to know how to help. But you can provide great essay writing help — and you don’t have to be a great writer yourself to do so. That’s the thinking behind one Northern California writing program that trains volunteers to work one-on-one with middle and high school students. The WriterCoach Connection (WCC) puts college students, lawyers, retirees, and other community members (no teaching experience necessary) through six hours of training before placing them in Albany, Berkeley, and Oakland schools.

Volunteers are trained to coach young writers so they can plan and write essays, not correct their papers. They learn strategies to help students organize their ideas and revise drafts. Associate Director Lynn Mueller describes a good writing coach as a “patient, friendly listener.”

WCC isn’t magic — or a substitute for a strong writing program at your child’s school. Since the best way to become a better writer is to practice , students should make time to write at school or home every day.

What can you do if your child is stumped about how to even begin a writing assignment? Or just “stuck” partway through an essay? These ideas are great essay writing help and they draw on the experiences of WCC volunteers.

10 tips that can help with essay writing

Know the assignment.

Some students struggle with writing because they haven’t thought enough about what they want to say. Ask your child to articulate the main point they want to make. If your teen can explain their ideas before putting pen to paper, writing will be so much easier.

Gather the facts

Get organized.

Great organization facilitates great writing. See if the teacher has given instructions on how to write the introduction, body of the essay, and conclusion. Review the sequence of ideas in each paragraph of your child’s writing. Can you follow their thinking, or are there gaps in their logic? Are transitions needed to link the paragraphs?

Lend a hand

Read it out loud, start with the strengths.

Always start with the good. Identify three strengths in your child’s writing, and point them out. Look for concrete details, clear sentences, and vivid words, and offer encouragement for what you find. Parents can point out the writing they like and read passages aloud for emphasis.

Ask for more information

Ask questions to understand what your child is trying to say. Don’t be afraid to tell them if there’s something you’d like to know more about, like an idea that’s not fully expressed. Don’t criticize or give the answer, but help your teen find their own answers. If you respond to your child’s writing as a reader, you’ll be showing your teen that writing is a way to communicate ideas.

Ignore grammar in rough drafts

Respect your child as a writer.

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10 Math and Logic Persuasive Essay Topics for Kids

10 english language arts persuasive essay topics for kids, 10 science and technology persuasive essay topics for kids, 10 animals and nature persuasive essay topics for kids, 10 school and education persuasive essay topics for kids.

Persuasive writing is a way to share what you think about something in a way that convinces others to think the same. For young learners, learning how to write persuasively is very important. It helps them learn to talk about their beliefs and understand why others might think differently. This skill is not just about writing; it’s about thinking carefully and sharing ideas in the best way possible. This blog is  about “best persuasive essay topics for kids .”

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We will share fun persuasive essay topics for kids to write about. These topics will help kids practice convincing others with their words, improving communication, and thinking about different ideas. This blog will cover topics about family, school, animals, food, and even subjects like math and reading .

In this section, we dive into persuasive writing topics that show why numbers and shapes are not just school subjects but exciting parts of our everyday lives. These topics prompt kids to think about how math helps us solve problems, understand the world, and have fun.

1. Why Learning Math is Fun.

Encourage kids to explore how math is a game of numbers and logic, showing them that solving math problems can be as exciting as unraveling mysteries.

2. The Importance of Learning to Count Money.

Motivate children to understand the value of money by teaching them how counting coins and bills is key to buying their favorite toys and saving for the future.

3. Shapes are Everywhere: Why We Need to Learn About Them.

Inspire kids to discover shapes in their environment, highlighting how recognizing different shapes is crucial for creativity and practical problem-solving.

4. The Best Math Game for Kids.

Urge kids to engage with math games , demonstrating how these games can turn complex arithmetic into fun and interactive challenges.

5. Why We Should Learn About Time.

Encourage children to learn reading clocks, emphasizing how understanding time management can make daily activities more fun and organized.

6. Finding Patterns in Math.

Prompt kids to look for patterns , showing them that recognizing patterns can help solve problems faster and more efficiently.

7. The Magic of Multiplication.

Motivate kids to master multiplication , explaining how it speeds up counting and opens up a world of mathematical possibilities.

8. Why Fractions are Important.

Inspire children to dive into fractions , illustrating how fractions are part of everyday life, from dividing a pizza to measuring ingredients for a recipe.

9. Solving Puzzles with Algebra.

Urge kids to see algebra as a tool for solving puzzles , showing them that understanding variables and equations can be like cracking secret codes.

10. The Adventure of Geometry.

Encourage kids to embark on the adventure of geometry , pointing out how shapes and angles are integral to building everything from paper airplanes to skyscrapers.

In this section, we explore persuasive writing prompts on ELA . Kids get to see how words can paint pictures, tell stories, and convince others about what we think and feel.

1. The Joy of Reading Every Day.

Encourage kids to discuss the adventures books can take on, showing that reading every day can unlock new worlds.

2. Why Writing Stories is Important.

Motivate children to express their imagination through writing, highlighting how creating stories helps share their unique view of the world.

3. The Best Book for Kids.

Invite kids to argue about what makes a book the best read for children, encouraging them to explore different genres and authors.

4. Handwriting vs. Typing: Which is Better?

Urge kids to debate the benefits of handwriting over typing, focusing on how each method contributes to learning and memory.

5. The Power of Poetry in Expressing Feelings.

Inspire children to use poetry to express their emotions, showing how rhythm and rhyme can make feelings more powerful.

6. Learning New Words: Why It Matters.

Encourage kids to explore the importance of vocabulary, explaining how new words can help them express ideas more clearly.

7. Listening to Stories vs. Reading Them.

Motivate children to compare listening to audiobooks with reading text, discussing the different experiences each provides.

8. The Importance of Spelling Correctly.

Prompt kids to understand how spelling contributes to effective communication and why it’s important to learn it well.

9. Why Everyone Should Keep a Diary.

Inspire kids to see the value in keeping a diary, highlighting how it helps with self-expression and keeps memories alive.

10. Creating Your Comic Book.

Urge children to combine art and story by creating comic books, showing how this storytelling can bring ideas to life.

In this section, we dive into persuasive writing ideas that help kids explore how discoveries and innovations shape our world. This part of the blog encourages young learners to think about the role of science and tech in daily life, from our gadgets to how we understand the universe. 

1. The Importance of Recycling Electronics.

Encourage kids to argue why recycling old gadgets is crucial for protecting our planet, showing the impact of technology on the environment.

2. Why Space Exploration is Valuable.

Motivate children to explore the benefits of studying outer space, from inspiring new technologies to understanding our place in the universe.

3. The Role of Robots in Our Future.

Invite kids to debate whether robots will make life better or if they pose challenges, encouraging a look at both sides of technological advancement.

4. Renewable Energy: The Way Forward.

Urge kids to discuss the importance of using renewable energy sources, highlighting how they can help combat climate change.

5. The Impact of Video Games on Kids.

Inspire children to argue about the effects of video games , considering both educational benefits and the need for moderation.

6. Should Animals be Used in Research?

Encourage kids to consider the ethical implications of using animals in scientific experiments, promoting empathy and understanding.

7. The Benefits of Learning to Code.

Motivate kids to see coding as an essential skill for the future, showing how it can help solve problems and create new opportunities.

8. How Technology Can Help in Education.

Invite children to discuss how tablets, computers, and interactive software can enhance learning experiences in and out of the classroom.

9. The Importance of Internet Safety.

Urge kids to explore the significance of being safe online, teaching them about privacy and responsible internet use.

10. Inventions That Changed the World.

Inspire kids to research and write about inventions significantly impacting human life, encouraging appreciation for innovation.

In this section, we explore easy persuasive essay topics about animals and nature. These topics will encourage kids to think and write about the natural world, the creatures that inhabit it, and how humans interact with it. 

1. Why We Should Protect Endangered Animals.

Encourage kids to argue the importance of saving animals at risk of extinction, highlighting how each creature plays a role in our world.

2. The Benefits of Having a School Garden.

Motivate children to explore the advantages of growing plants at school, from learning about biology to having fresh snacks.

3. Should People Keep Wild Animals as Pets?

Invite kids to discuss why wild animals should live in natural habitats instead of in people’s homes.

4. The Importance of Bees in Our Ecosystem.

Urge kids to write about why bees are vital for pollination and what would happen if we didn’t have them around.

5. Why We Need More Trees in Our Cities.

Inspire children to advocate for planting more trees in urban areas, explaining how trees improve air quality and provide shade.

6. Recycling: A Responsibility for Everyone.

Encourage kids to persuade others that recycling is essential for keeping our planet clean and reducing waste.

7. The Impact of Plastic on Ocean Life.

Motivate kids to explore the effects of plastic pollution on marine creatures and how reducing plastic use can make a difference.

8. Why Everyone Should Spend Time Outdoors.

Invite children to argue the benefits of outdoor play and exploration for health and happiness.

9. The Role of Zoos in Conservation.

Urge kids to consider how modern zoos protect endangered species and educate the public.

10. How to Make Your Home More Wildlife-Friendly.

Inspire kids to develop ideas for making gardens and outdoor spaces welcoming for birds, insects, and small mammals.

In this section, we dive into easy topics about school and education. These persuasive essay topics are designed to get kids thinking and writing about their learning experiences, the school environment, and how education shapes their world. 

1. Why Reading Should Be a Part of Every Day in School.

Encourage kids to argue for daily reading time, highlighting how it can open up new worlds and improve language skills.

2. The Benefits of Group Projects.

Motivate children to explore the advantages of working in groups, such as learning teamwork and sharing ideas.

3. Longer Recess for Better Learning.

Invite kids to persuade others that longer recess can lead to better concentration in class and more fun.

4. Should Homework Be Optional?

Urge kids to debate the necessity of homework, considering both its benefits for learning and the importance of free time.

5. The Importance of Art and Music in School.

Inspire children to argue for more art and music classes, explaining how creativity complements traditional subjects.

6. Why Field Trips Are Essential.

Encourage kids to write about the value of field trips in education, showing how real-world experiences enrich classroom learning.

7. School Uniforms: Good or Bad?

Motivate kids to take a stand on school uniforms, discussing how uniforms affect school spirit and individuality.

8. The Role of Technology in the Classroom.

Invite children to consider how tablets and computers can enhance or distract from learning.

9. Why Every School Should Have a Library.

Urge kids to argue the importance of having a well-stocked library at school, from encouraging reading to supporting research.

10. The Need for More Physical Education.

Inspire kids to advocate for more PE classes, emphasizing the importance of physical health alongside mental learning.

7 Tips for Writing a Persuasive Essay for Kids

Writing a persuasive essay can be fun to share your ideas and convince others to see things your way. Here are some simple tips to help you write a great persuasive essay:

  • Pick something you feel strongly about. It’s easier to persuade others if you really believe in what you’re saying.
  • Think about who will read your essay. What do they care about? Knowing this can help you make your argument more convincing.
  • Begin your essay with a sentence that makes people want to read more. You could ask a question, share a fun fact, or say something surprising.
  • Explain why you think your idea is right. Share facts, stories, or examples that support your opinion.
  • It’s fair to talk about what people who disagree with you might say. Then, gently explain why you still think you’re right.
  • Use simple words and short sentences. This makes it easier for everyone to understand your ideas.
  • Finish your essay by reminding people why your idea is important. Leave them with something to think about.

We’ve explored a lot of fun and important topics for young writers to think about and write about. From the wonders of math and the adventures in books to caring for our planet and making school better, these persuasive essay topics are a great way for kids to share their ideas and learn how to convince others. Remember, your voice is powerful, so start writing and show the world what you think!

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Classroom Q&A

With larry ferlazzo.

In this EdWeek blog, an experiment in knowledge-gathering, Ferlazzo will address readers’ questions on classroom management, ELL instruction, lesson planning, and other issues facing teachers. Send your questions to [email protected]. Read more from this blog.

How to Help Students With Their Writing. 4 Educators Share Their Secrets

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Teaching students to write is no easy feat, and it’s a topic that has often been discussed on this blog.

It’s also a challenge that can’t have too much discussion!

Today, four educators share their most effective writing lessons.

‘Three Practices That Create Confident Writers’

Penny Kittle teaches first-year writers at Plymouth State University in New Hampshire. She was a teacher and literacy coach in public schools for 34 years and is the author of nine books, including Micro Mentor Texts (Scholastic). She is the founder and president of the Book Love Foundation, which annually grants classroom libraries to teachers throughout North America:

I write almost every day. Like anything I want to do well, I practice. Today, I wrote about the wild dancing, joyful energy, and precious time I spent with my daughter at a Taylor Swift concert. Then I circled back to notes on Larry’s question about teaching writers. I wrote badly, trying to find a through line. I followed detours and crossed out bad ideas. I stopped to think. I tried again. I lost faith in my words. I will get there , I told myself. I trust my process.

I haven’t always written this easily or this much. I wouldn’t say I’m a “natural” writer because I don’t believe they exist. Writing is work. When I entered college, I received a C-minus on my first paper. I was stunned. I had never worked at writing: I was a “first drafter,” an “only drafter.” And truthfully, I didn’t know how or what to practice. I was assigned writing in high school and I completed it. I rarely received feedback. I didn’t get better. I didn’t learn to think like a writer; I thought like a student.

I’ve now spent 40 years studying writing and teaching writers in kindergarten, elementary school, middle school, and high school, as well as teachers earning graduate degrees. Despite their age, writers in school share one remarkably similar trait: a lack of confidence. Confidence is a brilliant and fiery light; it draws your eyes, your heart, and your mind. But in fact, it is as rare as the Northern Lights. I feel its absence every fall in my composition courses.

We can change that.

Confidence blooms in classrooms focused on the growth of writers.

This happens in classrooms where the teacher relies less on lessons and more on a handful of practices. Unfortunately, though, in most classrooms, a heap of time is spent directing students to practice “writing-like” activities: restrictive templates for assignments, with detailed criteria focused on rules. Those activities handcuff writers. If you tell me what to do and how to do it, I will focus on either completing the task or avoiding it. That kind of writing work doesn’t require much thinking; it is merely labor.

Practice creating, on the other hand, is harder, but it is how we develop the important ability to let our ideas come and then shaping them into cohesive arguments, stories, poems, and observations. We have misunderstood the power of writing to create thinking. Likewise, we have misunderstood the limitations of narrow tasks. So, here are my best instructional practices that lead to confidence and growth in writers.

1. Writing Notebooks and Daily Revision. Writers need time to write. Think of it as a habit we begin to engage in with little effort, like serving a tennis ball from the baseline or dribbling a basketball or sewing buttonholes. Writers need daily time to whirl words, to spin ideas, to follow images that blink inside them as they move their pen across the page. In my classroom, writing time most often follows engagement with a poem.

Likewise, writers need guidance in rereading their first drafts of messy thinking. I’ve seen teachers open their notebooks and invite students to watch them shape sentences. They demonstrate how small revisions increase clarity and rhythm. Their students watch them find a focus and maintain it. Teachers show the effort and the joy of writing well.

Here’s an example: We listen to a beautiful poem such as “Montauk” by Sarah Kay, her tribute to growing up. Students write freely from lines or images that spring to them as they listen. I write in my notebook as students write in theirs for 4-5 minutes. Then I read my entry aloud, circling subjects and detours ( I don’t know why I wrote so much about my dog, but maybe I have more to say about this … ). I model how to find a focus. I invite students to do the same.

2. Writers Study Writing . Writers imitate structures, approaches, and ways of reaching readers. They read like writers to find possibilities: Look what the writer did here and here . A template essay can be an effective tool to write for a test, but thankfully, that is a very small and insignificant part of the whole of writing for any of us. Real writing grows from studying the work of other writers. We study sentences, passages, essays, and articles to understand how they work, as we create our own.

3. Writers Have Conversations as They Work . When writers practice the skills and embrace the challenges of writing in community, it expands possibilities. Every line read from a notebook carries the mark of a particular writer: the passion, the voice, the experiences, and the vulnerability of each individual. That kind of sharing drives process talk ( How did you think to write about that? Who do you imagine you are speaking to? ), which showcases the endless variation in writers and leads to “writerly thinking.” It shifts conversations from “right and wrong” to “how and why.”

Long ago, at a local elementary school, in a workshop for teachers, I watched Don Graves list on the chalkboard subjects he was considering writing about. He read over his list and chose one. From there, he wrote several sentences, talking aloud about the decisions he was making as a writer. Then he turned to accept and answer questions.

“Why do this?” someone asked.

“Because you are the most important writer in the room,” Don said. “You are showing students why anyone would write when they don’t have to.” He paused, then added, “If not you, who?”

confidenceblooms

Developing ‘Student Voice’

A former independent school English teacher and administrator, Stephanie Farley is a writer and educational consultant working with teachers and schools on issues of curriculum, assessment, instruction, SEL, and building relationships. Her book, Joyful Learning: Tools to Infuse Your 6-12 Classroom with Meaning, Relevance, and Fun is available from Routledge Eye on Education:

Teaching writing is my favorite part of being a teacher. It’s incredibly fun to talk about books with kids, but for me, it’s even more fun to witness students’ skills and confidence grow as they figure out how to use written language to communicate what they mean.

A lesson I used to like doing was in “voice.” My 8th graders had a hard time understanding what I meant when I asked them to consider “voice” in their writing. The best illustration I came up with was playing Taylor Swift’s song “Blank Space” for students. Some students groaned while others clapped. (Doesn’t this always happen when we play music for students? There’s no song that makes everyone happy!) But when they settled down, I encouraged them to listen to the style: the arrangement, her voice as she sang, the dominant instruments.

Then, I played a cover of “Blank Space” by Ryan Adams. Eyes rolled as the song unfurled through the speakers, but again I reminded students to listen to the arrangement, voice, and instruments. After about 60 seconds of the Adams version, heads nodded in understanding. When the music ended and I asked students to explain voice to me, they said it’s “making something your own … like your own style.” Yes!

The next step was applying this new understanding to their own writing. Students selected a favorite sentence from the books they were reading, then tried to write it in their own voice. We did this a few times, until everyone had competently translated Kwame Alexander into “Rosa-style” or Kelly Link into “Michael-style.” Finally, when it was time for students to write their own longer works—stories, personal essays, or narratives—they intentionally used the words and sentence patterns they had identified as their own voice.

I’m happy to report this method worked! In fact, it was highly effective. Students’ papers were more idiosyncratic, nuanced, and creative. The only change to this lesson I’d make now is trying to find a more zeitgeist-y song with the hope that the groans at the beginning die down a little faster.

itsfun

Teaching ELLs

Irina McGrath, Ph.D., is an assistant principal at Newcomer Academy in the Jefferson County school district in Kentucky and the president of KYTESOL. She is also an adjunct professor at the University of Louisville, Indiana University Southeast, and Bellarmine University. She is a co-creator of the ELL2.0 site that offers free resources for teachers of English learners:

Reflecting on my experience of teaching writing to English learners, I have come to realize that writing can be daunting, especially when students are asked to write in English, a language they are learning to master. The most successful writing lessons I have taught were those that transformed the process into an enjoyable experience, fostering a sense of accomplishment and pride in my students.

To achieve this, I prioritized the establishment of a supportive learning environment. At the beginning of each school year, I set norms that emphasized the importance of writing for everyone, including myself as their teacher. I encouraged students to write in English and their native language and I wrote alongside my English learners to demonstrate that writing is a journey that requires hard work and dedication, regardless of age or previous writing experiences. By witnessing my own struggles, my students felt encouraged to persevere.

My English learners understood that errors were expected and that they were valuable opportunities for growth and improvement. This created a comfortable atmosphere where students felt more confident taking risks and experimenting with their writing. Rather than being discouraged by mistakes, they viewed them as steppingstones toward progress.

In my most effective writing lessons, I provided scaffolds such as sentence stems, sentence frames, and word banks. I also encouraged my students to use translation tools to help generate ideas on paper. These scaffolds empowered English learners to independently tackle more challenging writing assignments and nurtured their confidence in completing writing tasks. During writers’ circles, we discussed the hard work invested in each writing piece, shared our work, and celebrated each other’s success.

Furthermore, my most successful writing lessons integrated reading and writing. I taught my students to read like writers and utilized mentor texts to emulate the craft of established authors, which they could later apply to their own writing. Mentor texts, such as picture books, short stories, or articles, helped my students observe how professional writers use dialogue, sentence structure, and descriptive language to enhance their pieces.

Instead of overwhelming students with information, I broke down writing into meaningful segments and taught through mini lessons. For example, we analyzed the beginnings of various stories to examine story leads. Then, collaboratively, my students and I created several leads together. When they were ready, I encouraged them to craft their own leads and select the most appropriate one for their writing piece.

Ultimately, my most effective lessons were those in which I witnessed the joyful smiles on my English learners’ faces as they engaged with pages filled with written or typed words. It is during those moments that I knew my writers were creating and genuinely enjoying their work.

To access a self-checklist that students and EL teachers can use when teaching or creating a writing piece in English, you can visit the infographic at bit.ly/ABC_of_Writing .

iprovided

‘Model Texts’

Anastasia M. Martinez is an English-language-development and AVID Excel teacher in Pittsburg, Calif.:

As a second-language learner, writing in English had not always been my suit. It was not until graduate school that I immersed myself in a vast array of journals, articles, and other academic works, which ultimately helped me find my academic voice and develop my writing style. Now, working as an ESL teacher with a diverse group of middle school multilingual learners, I always provide a model text relevant to a topic or prompt we are exploring.

When students have a model text, it gives them a starting point for their own writing and presents writing as less scary, where they get stuck on the first sentence and do not know how to start.

At the start of the lesson, prior to using a model text, I create a “do now” activity that guides my students’ attention to the topic and creates a relevant context for the text. After students share their ideas with a partner and then the class, we transition to our lesson objectives, and I introduce the model text. We first use prereading strategies to analyze the text, and students share what they notice based on the title, images, and a number of paragraphs. Then, depending on the students’ proficiency level, I read the text to the class, or students read the text as partners, thinking about what the text was mostly about.

After students read and share their ideas with partners and then the whole class, we transition to deconstructing the text. These multiple reengagements with the text help students become more familiar with it, as well as help students build reading fluency.

When deconstructing the model text, I guide my students through each paragraph and sentence. During that time, students orally share their ideas determining the meaning of specific paragraphs or sentences, which we later annotate in the model text using different colored highlighters or pens. Color coding helps visually guide students through similar parts of the model text. For instance, if we highlight evidence in paragraph 2 in one color, we also highlight evidence in the same color in the following paragraph. It helps students see the similarities between the paragraphs and discover the skeleton of the writing. Additionally, color coding helps students during their writing process and revision. Students can check if they used all parts of the writing based on the colors.

Furthermore, one of the essential pieces during deconstructing model texts that I draw my students’ attention to is transition words and “big words,” or academic vocabulary. We usually box them in the text, and I question students about why the author used a particular word in the text. Later, when students do their own writing, they can integrate new vocabulary and transition words, which enhances their vocabulary and language skills.

As the next step, I invite students to co-create a similar piece of writing with a partner or independently using our model text as their guide. Later, our model text serves as a checklist for individual and partner revisions, which students could use to give each other feedback.

Model texts are an essential part of the writing process in any content-area class. As educators, we should embrace the importance of model texts, as they provide a solid foundation upon which students can develop their unique writing skills, tone, and voice.

modeltexts

Thanks to Penny, Stephanie, Irina, and Anastasia for contributing their thoughts!

Consider contributing a question to be answered in a future post. You can send one to me at [email protected] . When you send it in, let me know if I can use your real name if it’s selected or if you’d prefer remaining anonymous and have a pseudonym in mind.

You can also contact me on Twitter at @Larryferlazzo .

Just a reminder; you can subscribe and receive updates from this blog via email . And if you missed any of the highlights from the first 12 years of this blog, you can see a categorized list here .

The opinions expressed in Classroom Q&A With Larry Ferlazzo are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

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How To Answer the 2024-25 Common App Essay Prompts

Looking for help with the 2024-25 Common Application Essay? Below CEA’s Founder, Stacey Brook, breaks down all you need to know about this year’s prompts.

Stacey - College Essay Advisors Founder

Stacey Brook, Founder and Chief Advisor

Hello, students and parents of the future class of 2029! The time has come. The Common App essay prompts for 2024-25 have been released and—spoiler alert—they’re exactly the same as last year’s! 2024-25 college applicants, like those who came before them, will have seven (that’s right, seven) essay prompts to choose from. This wide range of questions, meant to inspire candidates in their search for compelling personal stories, is ideal for exploring essay topics of all tones, styles, and subjects. Students’ personal stories and feats of insight will again be relegated to 650 words, which equates to a little more than a single-spaced page. We happen to believe this is the perfect amount of space in which to make a quick and powerful impression with admissions (or write a comprehensive fan letter to Beyoncé), so as far as we’re concerned, you’re golden.

Because we are committed to getting you the most timely and comprehensive essay advice on the interweb, we have made a guide to help you navigate the ins and outs of all seven prompts.

Before you dive (or cannonball!) into our pool of essay advice, we’d like to leave you with one last little secret: the prompts are not actually as important as you think they are . In fact, in our instructional YouTube videos and one-on-one advising , we encourage applicants to root around for their most meaningful stories first and consider the prompts later. This is a process we call the Backwards Brainstorm, and you can learn more about it here . For now, the main point we want you to take away is this: The prompts don’t really matter. What matters is the story you want to tell. (And that you floss at least every other day—trust us, it will pay off in the long run.) We are as sure as ever that every single one of you has a valuable story (or two or twelve!) to communicate to admissions. All it takes is ample time for reflection and a little writerly elbow grease to find it. So take a peek at what the 2024-25 application has in store for you, absorb what these prompts are really asking, and then forget about them (really!) as you explore the endless possibilities.

How To Write Common App Prompt #1: The Background Essay

Common Application Prompt 1

PROMPT #1: Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.

The Common App’s Prompt #1 is the Old Faithful of essay questions. It’s been around for years and offers all the flexibility an applicant could ask for from a prompt, with just enough direction to get those creative fountains flowing. Focus on the key words, “background,” “identity,” “interest,” and “talent,” and use them as launch points for your brainstorming. What about your history, personality, hobbies, or accomplishments might be worth highlighting for an admissions officer? It can be something as small as seeing an episode of a television show (are you living life in the Upside Down?) or as large as the struggle of moving to a foreign country (especially if you had to leave behind grandma’s cooking). The most important thing to consider for this prompt is that your subject and/or perspective is dynamic and specific to you and who you are and no one else.

Some questions to ask yourself as you brainstorm:

  • What about my history or background sets me apart from my peers?
  • How do I define myself? How do the people who are closest to me define me?
  • What have I achieved that has been integral in molding my character and ambitions?
  • What, in my seventeen years on this earth, has helped shape the person I am today?

And some examples to consider:

  • Has your family’s love of food and your resultant adventurous tastes and culinary curiosity allowed you to connect with cultures from around the world?
  • Does your crazy, dyed-blue hair define you?
  • Did going to a Picasso exhibit inspire you to start an art collection that has since expanded beyond the borders of your bedroom?
  • Have your yearly trips to see your extended family in China revealed something to you about your parents’ ability to overcome challenges and the work ethic you have absorbed as a result?
  • What are the challenges and rewards of having same-sex parents? Or of being raised by your siblings? Or of being part of a family made up of stepsisters and stepbrothers?

Overall, this prompt is what we at College Essay Advisors call a “choose-your-own-adventure” prompt. It has historically served as a fabulous catch-all for subjects that don’t fit within the confines of the other prompt options. A recent addition to the Common App’s prompt selection now offers even more freedom to applicants (more on that later), but students should still think of Prompt #1 as a topic of immense choice, reeled in by a few helpful guidelines.

How To Write Common App Prompt #2: The Setback Essay

Common Application Prompt 2

PROMPT #2: The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?

We have always believed that essays about overcoming obstacles are most effective when they focus more on solutions than problems. Accordingly, Prompt #2 essays should be predominantly filled with a student’s response, outlook, and demeanor when presented with one of life’s many hurdles, rather than a detailed account of the hurdle itself. Applicants should aim to showcase qualities like resilience, determination, and humility. The obstacles you choose to explore can vary widely in nature, especially with the recent additions that allow students to explore challenges and setbacks in addition to failures. They can be as serious as being tormented by bullies, as ingrained as the financial issues that have plagued your family for years, or as seemingly pedestrian as a mistake that costs you a tip while waiting tables. While the possibilities are almost endless, students should be careful not to choose challenges that may seem trite (the inability to achieve an A on an exam and/or secure tickets to that BTS concert) or that illustrate a lapse in good judgment (that time you crashed your car or ate 15 bags of Cheetos in one sitting). Still, if you can isolate an incident of trial in your life and illustrate how you learned from it, this can be a rewarding prompt to explore.

Some key questions to consider:

  • How do you deal with hardship?
  • What qualifies as a challenge or setback in your life and world?
  • Are you the kind of person who can rebound and turn every experience, good or bad, into one from which you can learn something? What experiences might illustrate this quality?
  • What have been some of the major challenges you’ve encountered in your life? And was there a silver lining?

And a few examples to think about:

  • Has a lifelong battle with stuttering ultimately increased your overall confidence and allowed you to participate in social activities and public forums without self-judgment?
  • Did a parent’s fragile health situation challenge you to take on more responsibilities than the average teenager?
  • Did a series of setbacks on your road to becoming a child actor introduce you to screenwriting, your professional goal and biggest passion?
  • Did your failure to follow directions lead you to a botched home science experiment (root beer explosion!) and an appreciation for a balance of creativity and planned procedure?

Overall, try to keep these stories as positive as possible. Remember, these essays are not contemplative musings on your toughest times or reflections on the hiccups that populate everyday life (though these things can certainly be touched upon); they are about overcoming obstacles and refusing to submit to life’s greatest challenges.

How To Write Common App Prompt #3: The Challenge Essay

Common Application Prompt 3

PROMPT #3: Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?

This remains one of the most challenging prompts of the Common App’s selection, even though it has become slightly friendlier with the addition of the option to discuss a time you questioned an idea instead of challenged one. This prompt requires a student to speak passionately about beliefs and ideology, which are often onerous subjects that can be difficult to mold into compact stories. It can be one of the hardest questions to steer in a positive, productive direction without traveling into preachy, overly didactic territory. This is also a more precarious prompt than most in that students need to carefully assess the risks of espousing beliefs that might be polarizing for the readers of their applications.

That said, a response to this prompt can be incisive and deeply personal, as it was for a student who stood up to her parents’ old-fashioned outlook on feminism. Applicants who can articulate their thoughts and feelings while showcasing malleability and willingness to thoughtfully consider the ideas of others will likely stand out as valuable additions to any campus. If this prompt jumps out at you because you have a very specific story to tell or opinion to voice, run with it!

Consider these questions as you brainstorm:

  • When has your opinion been unpopular?
  • Why are you the kind of person who is willing to stand up for what you believe in?
  • What is important to you on a fundamental level of morals and values?
  • How passionate are you about the things you believe in?

And here are a few examples for you to ponder:

  • Are you openly gay in a strict Catholic school environment? What has that meant for your self-esteem and personal relationships?
  • Did you work as an intern on a political campaign caught at the center of a scandal? How did you react?
  • Did you challenge the idea of horror as a throw-away genre by executing an extensive research paper on the subject, launching a horror movie club at school, and arranging the most elaborate, best-received haunted house your neighborhood has ever seen?

Your essay does not have to be focused around a fundamentally serious or groundbreaking issue (see the horror genre example above). What matters most when responding to this prompt is that you have strong convictions about the belief or idea you are trying to convey, and that you examine the personal effects of this ethos on your life and world. For this reason, Prompt #3 can be a great vehicle for showcasing your consideration, persuasive skills, and passions to admissions.

How To Write Common App Prompt #4: The Gratitude Essay

Common Application Prompt 4

PROMPT #4: Reflect on something that someone has done for you that has made you happy or thankful in a surprising way. How has this gratitude affected or motivated you?

We love Prompt #4, which asks students to talk about a time when they felt gratitude. So many of the Common App prompts set students up to talk about what they do for others. Just as important, however, is how applicants react and respond when they are the recipients of something meaningful themselves. Gratitude is quickly becoming a quality individuals are encouraged to connect to and reflect on regularly, hence the popularity of gratitude journals and exercises. (Brainstorming method alert!) This question is meant to offer students the opportunity to reflect on the role gratitude plays in their lives, as well as how the practice of giving thanks and acknowledging life’s gifts motivates and inspires them. 

Students should think about times when they have felt acknowledged, heard, and seen. Moments when they have felt that swelling in their chest, as their heart grows three sizes. Think creatively about what you appreciate in your life. It can be a physical gift, an action, or even just a set of feelings projected in your direction. You can be intimately familiar with the person who has inspired your gratitude, or reflect on the actions of a near stranger or even a public figure who has impacted your life for the better. Just remember that this essay needs to focus on how you process, appreciate and draw inspiration from the action of others, so make sure your response is focused on YOU. Ultimately, admissions wants to know more about how you relate to others in the world, and how you repurpose good intentions. 

Some questions to ponder:

  • How do you like to pay it forward in your daily life?
  • How (and why!) do you express gratitude and appreciation?
  • What are your favorite random acts of kindness?
  • Has anyone ever restored your faith in humanity? How?
  • Do you believe in karma? Why? 

And examples to use as food for thought:

  • Did a kind gesture from a stranger inspire you to keep paying it forward? How do you do so and what’s become of your wholesome intentions?
  • Have you ever received an unexpected gift from someone? Why was this gift so meaningful to you? How did you express your gratitude?
  • Do you feel appreciative of a public figure for the work they have done to raise awareness about issues that are important to you? How do you give back?

It’s important that the story you choose to tell is linked to your life and world in a meaningful way. The whole purpose of this exercise is to reveal something valuable about yourself to admissions, so be sure to link the act of kindness you highlight to your passions, actions, or aspirations. And don’t forget to detail how this gift affected you then and still motivates you now. Once you’ve settled into your prompt of choice, following instructions to the fullest and answering all parts of each question are critical.

How To Write Common App Prompt #5: The Accomplishment Essay

Common Application Prompt 5

PROMPT #5: Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.

There are a few things to note when unpacking this prompt. Keep in mind that the words “accomplishment” and “event” leave themselves open to interpretation; thus, an essay inspired by this question can tackle anything from a formal event to a very small occurrence. A formal event or accomplishment might include anything from obvious landmarks like birthdays or weddings to achievements like earning an award or receiving a promotion. More informal examples might include something as simple as meeting a special person in your life, taking a car ride, or eating a particularly meaningful meal. We have often found that smaller, less formal events make for more surprising and memorable essays; but as with any of the other prompts, as long as you can answer with originality and put a unique twist on your subject matter, all ideas are fair game.

Your reflection on what you have learned and how you have grown will be a source of great insight for admissions, and you want to make sure your essay highlights the intangible qualities that don’t show up anywhere else on an application.

Some other things to consider:

  • How do you react to periods of transition? What inspires a change in your perspective?
  • When have you had a “eureka” moment, and how has it impacted the way you lived your life thereafter?
  • What were the moments in life that fundamentally changed you as a person?
  • When did you learn something that made you feel more adult, more capable, more grown up?

For example:

  • Did your expansion of a handmade stationery hobby into a full-fledged business give you the motivation and wherewithal to combat the effects of a debilitating illness?
  • Have you learned to love the football team playback sessions that force you to routinely examine your mistakes, welcome constructive criticism and point yourself toward self-improvement?
  • Did a summer-long role as the U.S. President in a mock government and diplomacy exercise bring out leadership skills you never knew you had?
  • What did playing bridge at a senior citizens’ home each week show you about the value of enjoyment over competition? How did this change the way you interact and connect with others?

The most important things to keep in mind when searching for these moments are the elements of growth, understanding, and transformation. The event, accomplishment, or realization you discuss should be something that helped you understand the world around you through a different, more mature lens.

How To Write Common App Prompt #6: The Passion Essay

Common Application Prompt 6

PROMPT #6: Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more?

One could argue that college is largely about the pursuit of knowledge, so you can imagine it would be quite appealing for an admissions officer to have a meter for your level of self-motivated learning, along with a better understanding of how and why you choose to pay attention to the things that intrigue you. This is a window into your brain: how you process information, how you seek out new sources of content and inspiration. How resourceful are you when your curiosity is piqued to the fullest? The answer to this prompt should also reveal something to admissions about the breadth or depth of your interests. For example, if you’re interested in studying astrophysics, you might choose to discuss a concept that shows how far your exploration of the sciences truly reaches. How consumed are you by this passion you are choosing to pursue academically?

  • What floats your boat? Do you have an appetite for knowledge about something specific? Or, as we asked in the breakdown for Prompt #1: what do you love, and why do you love it?
  • What lengths have you gone to in order to acquire new information about or experiences related to a topic of interest?
  • How do you typically seek to enrich your knowledge when something appeals to you? Do you have a favorite corner of the library (or internet)? A mentor who is open to answering your burning questions?
  • What about the process of learning, especially about subjects that call out to you, is satisfying?

And a few examples to get those wheels turning:

  • Did the idea of open source code inspire you to create a tech startup with a few of your friends? What new projects within the company are you most excited to work on?
  • Did getting an internship at an accounting firm inspire you to start each day by checking the markets? Do you participate in a mock trading club that allows you to use the expertise you gather from culling through economic news and analysis online and beyond?
  • On any given Sunday morning, could we find you lost in the literature of Kurt Vonnegut or immersed in a collection of stories by Isaac Asimov?
  • Have you taught yourself to master the compositions of Mozart and Beethoven and break down the songs of Bruno Mars by ear in your spare time?
  • Do you have an obsession with pizza so intense it led you to study the culinary arts and keep a pizza journal that documents the 700+ slices you’ve consumed thus far? (We know someone who did this—really.) How is pizza-making more scientific and/or artistic than the average person realizes?

Whatever you’re into, embrace it. Show your feathers. Let your freak flag fly (within reason, obvs). This prompt is about the pursuit of knowledge and your desire to proactively challenge yourself. Whether you are devouring the classics on your Kindle or nerding out over the perfect cheese for calzone-making, your attachment to a subject may inspire admissions to want to learn more about it…and you.

How To Write Common App Prompt #7: Topic of Your Choice

Common Application Prompt 7

PROMPT #7: Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you’ve already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.

Feared by some, coveted by others, and legendary in its existence; regardless of where you stand on the issue, this was a newsworthy addition to the 2017-18 Common App prompt choices. For years, students have been treating Prompt #1 (which asks about your background, etc.) as topic of your choice *light*—it wasn’t exactly the delicious, full-freedom version students were looking for, but they were able to make it work in a pinch. Applicants around the world likely let out a big exhale when they saw they could still serve up a big scoop of Prompt #7 to admissions in previous seasons. And this year will be no different.

Some questions to consider as you brainstorm, in addition to all of the ones we’ve posed thus far:

  • What do you want admissions to know about you that they wouldn’t be able to glean from your transcript, test scores, or teacher recommendations?
  • What are the stories that come up over and over again, at the dinner table or in the cafeteria with your friends, that might give admissions some insight into who you are and what is important to you?
  • If you had ten minutes alone in a room with an admissions officer, what would you want to talk about or tell him or her about yourself?
  • What would you bring to a college campus that no one else would or could?

And a few examples of potential subjects and their related (custom!) prompts:

  • Were you born with a congenital eye defect that literally (and metaphorically) affects how you see the world? ( Q: How is your perspective on the world unique?)
  • Do you spend 40 minutes each Friday night tutoring a class of elementary school students in Cambodia? How has that impacted the way you mete out your time and assess your commitments? ( Q: What is the value of 40 minutes?)
  • Did your parents let your older brother choose your name? What was his inspiration? (Please tell us your name is  Gaston .) What does your name represent for you? How has it impacted your interactions in the world? ( Q: What’s in a name?)

While being able to write about whatever you wish sounds great in theory, some students find—especially at the beginning of the brainstorming process—that they are debilitated by the “topic of your choice” option because it offers  too   much choice. If that is the case, fear not! Use some of the other prompts as starting points for your brainstorming and free writing journeys. Begin keeping a diary ( now! ) and jot down subjects, events, and memories as they float to the surface. Now that you have read our handy-dandy prompt guide and understand what admissions is looking for from these prompts, you could very well have a notebook filled with ideas that are ripe for expansion by the time you sit down to write.

So don’t worry about having too many ideas, or not having enough ideas, especially at the beginning of the topic selection process. Once you figure out what you’d like to say (and maybe even after you draft the crux of the essay itself), see if your concept fits one of the first six prompts. Trying to tailor your essay to a more specific prompt option may inspire an interesting spin on the story you are trying to tell—one you may not have thought of otherwise. Form influences content. If, after careful consideration, your magic essay topic does not work within the confines of Prompts 1-6, you are in luck. The glorious, all-encompassing Prompt #7 will be here to catch you.

With some brainstorming and hard work, every student can uncover a story worth telling in response to one of these prompts. Remember, admissions wants a glimpse of your personality, your values, your interests and your passions. They want to get an idea of what kind of attitude and energy you will bring to the classroom and campus life.

So take a few minutes to probe your memories, collect your stories and strike up that creative core. Every student has a fabulous essay inside of them – these prompts can help you find yours.

Supplemental Application Essay Guide

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Thesis and Purpose Statements

Use the guidelines below to learn the differences between thesis and purpose statements.

In the first stages of writing, thesis or purpose statements are usually rough or ill-formed and are useful primarily as planning tools.

A thesis statement or purpose statement will emerge as you think and write about a topic. The statement can be restricted or clarified and eventually worked into an introduction.

As you revise your paper, try to phrase your thesis or purpose statement in a precise way so that it matches the content and organization of your paper.

Thesis statements

A thesis statement is a sentence that makes an assertion about a topic and predicts how the topic will be developed. It does not simply announce a topic: it says something about the topic.

Good: X has made a significant impact on the teenage population due to its . . . Bad: In this paper, I will discuss X.

A thesis statement makes a promise to the reader about the scope, purpose, and direction of the paper. It summarizes the conclusions that the writer has reached about the topic.

A thesis statement is generally located near the end of the introduction. Sometimes in a long paper, the thesis will be expressed in several sentences or an entire paragraph.

A thesis statement is focused and specific enough to be proven within the boundaries of the paper. Key words (nouns and verbs) should be specific, accurate, and indicative of the range of research, thrust of the argument or analysis, and the organization of supporting information.

Purpose statements

A purpose statement announces the purpose, scope, and direction of the paper. It tells the reader what to expect in a paper and what the specific focus will be.

Common beginnings include:

“This paper examines . . .,” “The aim of this paper is to . . .,” and “The purpose of this essay is to . . .”

A purpose statement makes a promise to the reader about the development of the argument but does not preview the particular conclusions that the writer has drawn.

A purpose statement usually appears toward the end of the introduction. The purpose statement may be expressed in several sentences or even an entire paragraph.

A purpose statement is specific enough to satisfy the requirements of the assignment. Purpose statements are common in research papers in some academic disciplines, while in other disciplines they are considered too blunt or direct. If you are unsure about using a purpose statement, ask your instructor.

This paper will examine the ecological destruction of the Sahel preceding the drought and the causes of this disintegration of the land. The focus will be on the economic, political, and social relationships which brought about the environmental problems in the Sahel.

Sample purpose and thesis statements

The following example combines a purpose statement and a thesis statement (bold).

The goal of this paper is to examine the effects of Chile’s agrarian reform on the lives of rural peasants. The nature of the topic dictates the use of both a chronological and a comparative analysis of peasant lives at various points during the reform period. . . The Chilean reform example provides evidence that land distribution is an essential component of both the improvement of peasant conditions and the development of a democratic society. More extensive and enduring reforms would likely have allowed Chile the opportunity to further expand these horizons.

For more tips about writing thesis statements, take a look at our new handout on Developing a Thesis Statement.

how to help your child write essay

Writing Process and Structure

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Getting Started with Your Paper

Interpreting Writing Assignments from Your Courses

Generating Ideas for Your Paper

Creating an Argument

Thesis vs. Purpose Statements

Developing a Thesis Statement

Architecture of Arguments

Working with Sources

Quoting and Paraphrasing Sources

Using Literary Quotations

Citing Sources in Your Paper

Drafting Your Paper

Introductions

Paragraphing

Developing Strategic Transitions

Conclusions

Revising Your Paper

Peer Reviews

Reverse Outlines

Revising an Argumentative Paper

Revision Strategies for Longer Projects

Finishing Your Paper

Twelve Common Errors: An Editing Checklist

How to Proofread your Paper

Writing Collaboratively

Collaborative and Group Writing

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Use these 7 steps to calm your kid when they're throwing a tantrum—including one you 'can't skip,' psychologist says

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One aspect of raising resilient kids is teaching them how to handle their emotions during uncomfortable or stressful situations. 

When your child is having a meltdown at the grocery store, for example, your knee-jerk reaction might be to scold them and tell them to get over it. But, in doing so you're dismissing their feelings instead of teaching them how to deal with their feelings. 

Everyday scenarios like crying at a restaurant or struggling to get ready for school in the morning can be opportunities to co-regulate with your child, says Aliza Pressman, a developmental psychologist and co-founder of the Mount Sinai Parenting Center.

Pressman is the author of  "The 5 Principles of Parenting: Your Essential Guide to Raising Good Humans." 

"Co-regulation in parenting refers to the presence of a calm and connected caregiver who can enable a child to regain balance when they're upset or afraid," she says. "The caregiver is, in a sense, lending their nervous system to the child."

And the first step of co-regulation is handling your own anger or frustration.

"By sharing our sense of calm with our kids, we slowly teach them how to regulate on their own when they sense a possible threat," Pressman says. "What you want to do is you, yourself, regulate and the co-regulation will follow."

Here are 7 steps of co-regulation, according to Pressman.

1. Breathe.

Inhale deeply through your nose, and exhale. 

"Yes, there's rich neuroscience behind the power of the breath; and no, you can't skip this step," Pressman says. "Take the breath."

2. Acknowledge. 

Ask yourself the question, "What is this moment bringing up for me?" 

Are you running late and scared you'll look irresponsible in front of other parents? Or maybe your child is refusing to eat a vegetable and you are anxious they'll be judged for being a picky eater. 

"Reflect for a moment," Pressman says, and try to identify the root of your frustration. 

You, yourself, regulate and the co-regulation will follow. Aliza Pressman

3. Let it go. 

It's easy to get caught up in how this meltdown will affect the future or how you've handled similar situations in the past. 

However, this isn't necessarily helpful. Let it go and stay in the moment, Pressman says: "You can unpack any baggage later on your own timeline." 

4. Assess. 

Take stock of the present moment. 

"Gauge your own and your child's state of mind," Pressman says. 

Are they calm, curious, frantic, or distraught?

5. Notice. 

"Observe what's going on in your own body and what's going on in your child's body," Pressman says. 

Check in on your breath and heart rate. Also pay attention to your child's body language. This can tell you how to move forward.

6. Connect. 

"Let your child know verbally or with your body that you see them and care about their feelings," Pressman says. 

Validating their feelings can calm their nervous system. 

7. Engage. 

Now that you're in a calm, present state of mind, make a decision on how to respond.

"If your child is yelling, you won't yell at them to stop yelling — you'll say it calmly, with authority," Pressman says. "No matter what the parenting dilemma is, your self-regulation is going to help you identify and respond in the space between permissiveness and tyranny."

Your goal is to soothe your child's emotions while also setting a firm boundary about what is and isn't appropriate behavior.

Want to land your dream job in 2024?  Take  CNBC's new online course How to Ace Your Job Interview  to learn what hiring managers are really looking for, body language techniques, what to say and not to say, and the best way to talk about pay. CNBC Make It readers can save 25% with discount code 25OFF.

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    Use games. There are numerous games and puzzles that help children with spelling while increasing their vocabulary. Some of these may include crossword puzzles, word games, anagrams, and cryptograms designed especially for children. Flash cards are fun to use too, and they're easy to make at home. Turn your child's writing into books.

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    Step 3: Provide examples and practise a lot. Give your kids examples! Children work better when they have some examples of what they are trying to do lying in front of them. This tactic, called "learning by example", will help your children get more ideas about creating their own essay papers.

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