Whether midway through elementary school, or well into the middle school years, there are four common mistakes many students make when writing for any academic assignment.
Mistake #1: He didn't understand the writing prompt.
Poor guy. He felt prepared, got a good night's sleep, and even had a healthy breakfast. Yet, when he read, "Using evidence from the following articles, construct several explanatory paragraphs in your expository essay," he was lost. Students today are expected to know the differences between expository, persuasive, descriptive and narrative writing styles.
Mistake #2: She didn't organize her thoughts before writing.
Can you blame her? The stress of writing a five paragraph essay can be overwhelming to most 12 year olds. Most young writers just want to jump in and start writing. However, an organized paper makes all the difference. What is the main idea? How can that be supported? Was it wrapped up in the end? These simple organization skills can make writing easier, too. Much like Google Maps, knowing the correct direction can make all the difference in getting there.
Mistake #3: He didn't read his own work once he finished.
Done! And, he's out of there. So many young writers simply can't wait to be finished writing. Once the pencil stops, they think the process is over. However, so many kiddos could improve greatly simply by reading what they wrote. Was something left out or incorrectly spelled? Did that sentence even make sense? When students learn to read and revise their very own work it empowers them as writers.
Mistake #4: She isn't using academic vocabulary.
"Cool" is just easier to spell than "intriguing", right? That is what many students will say. Students are incorrect in thinking that properly spelling common and boring words is more important than misspelling a more academic and interesting word. The fact is strong vocabulary choices take writing to a whole new, more mature level.
Yes, it is a lot to learn. Yes, it takes a good deal of valuable instruction. Yes, it needs to be consistent. Yes, young writers need encouragement and personal feedback. Yes, there is help for anyone thinking, "My child needs better writing instruction."
Would you like to claim your child's seat for my next online writing course? I can help.
Melissa Webb is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.
Author: Melissa Webb
CA Credentialed Teacher