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3 Steps to Effective Written Communication: Tweens

by Lori Sciame | August 29th, 2017 | Communication, Tweens
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tween girl reading (400x400)As a college English teacher, I often work with students who have trouble communicating through the written word. Most of these students have magnetic personalities, and they are highly verbal; however, they just can’t seem to organize their thoughts into an effective essay. Why does this happen?  From experience, I have learned that most of these students “dislike” reading and writing; they simply have no value for the written word – other than what is found on social media.

As the parent of a tween, you still have time to make a difference.  You can help your child become the effective communicator he or she was meant to be.  Instead of sending her into the world (college) hating reading and writing, take steps now to help her learn to love those valuable skills.

Create a Library Story

One exercise I assign in first semester English composition class explores the students’ library stories. More often than not, those students who struggle with writing have no library story. In fact, most of them view the library as a form of punishment, as they were sent there when they would act up in class. On the other hand, those students who have experienced a rich relationship with both their local and school library usually end up being the best writers in the class.

I urge you to help your child to create his or her own positive library story. It starts simply; all you need to do is obtain a library card.  Next, visit the library regularly, and explore the racks together. (Be a good role model and check out books for yourself as well).  Finally, take advantage of the programs the library offers school aged children. They combine reading with a hands on activity, which makes them FUN!

Create an Environment Where Reading Rules

A child lives what he sees.  For instance, if you play video games during leisure time, then he will follow suit. I implore you to let your child see you reading during those times as well. You don’t have to give up your other hobbies; you merely need to add a few minutes of reading to your schedule. Read those books you check out from the library, or read a physical copy of a local newspaper, or read a religious text.  In essence, all that is important is that your child sees that YOU value reading.

Create a Discussion Forum

Many of my students can’t synthesize texts because they do not know how to critically think about what they have read. As a parent, you can assist a tween by discussing reading material with them from an early age.  A good idea is to read a book together, then discuss the characters, the plot line, and the setting.  Your discussions do not have to be formal, as simple “what if” questions will do.  All that matters is that you help  your child ruminate on what he has read. You will be pleasantly surprised at how lively (fun) these conversations will be!

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