Helping foster and adoptive children develop reading skills as young as possible will set them up for future success.
For every child, adolescence is marked by constant growth and changes. Personality, emotions, mental aptitude, and interests all emerge and fluctuate. But even in the most favorable conditions, these changes can be challenging for the little ones. Now imagine adding one other aspect to these changes by being placed under foster care.
In the US alone, nearly half a million children enter foster care every year. Various studies have shown that foster children face a unique set of challenges in the learning environment. As a teacher or foster parent, it’s important to understand and learn the best practices and strategies to help these children achieve academic success and ease the stress that comes with the changes they’re going through.
One important skill a child needs to build up on, is writing. It takes time to develop strong writing skills, so it can be a pretty tough task to accomplish. Luckily, there are many things educators can do to help improve a child’s writing skills.
From daily reading to fun activities, here are 7 tips that will help your child build their skills and become a strong writer in no time.
Tip #1: Make Reading a Regular Habit
Reading on a regular basis is a stepping stone to better writing. It also strengthens a child’s written and verbal communication skills and helps expand their vocabulary.
For younger children, it’s best to read together every day and encourage them to love reading as they grow. Start reading together as early and as frequently as possible. Doing so builds an important foundation that helps the young one become a better reader and writer.
Tip #2: Be a Role Model
Let the child observe you as you write.
As much as possible, spend some time to share your writing with the child and talk to them about how you use writing in your daily life. Show them a wide variety of written works like poems, written letters, business applications, or even a page in your journal.
Tip #3: Encourage the Child to Journal
Keeping a journal or diary is a great way for children to express their own thoughts and ideas, while at the same time working on improving their skills in writing.
As a foster parent or teacher, make plans for an activity or outing where the child can be encouraged to write in their journals. Better yet, make journaling a fun part of their daily routine.
Tip #4: Connect Writing with their Interests
Think about the child’s favorite storybook or novel series. Perhaps they’re obsessed with Harry Potter or Nancy Drew. Or maybe they love to talk about dinosaurs or the solar system. Whatever their passion or interests, connect them to writing.
Encourage the child to write an essay about their favorite characters in a book, or let them create their own short story about dinosaurs or the solar system.
Tip #5: Take Advantage of Technology
There’s no getting around it: technology plays a major role in daily life. So why not use it to your advantage to help improve a child’s writing skills?
Have the child create their own blog, or encourage them to communicate to a friend via email. You can also get them to publish them own story online, with programs like the Little Bird Tales. Not only does this help improve a child’s writing skills, it also encourages frequent writing habits.
Tip #6: Respond to and Praise the Child’s Writing
Respond to the child’s ideas, whether they express it verbally or in writing. Show them that you’re interested in what their work conveys. This means focusing on what they’re writing, instead of how they’re writing it. If the child is still at a stage where they’re trying to get their ideas together, it’s best to not pay too much attention to minor errors.
Don’t forget to praise the child for their work. Ask questions and celebrate when they present you a quality writing piece or when they show an improvement in their writing.
Tip #7: Make Writing Fun!
Play games and other fun activities that encourage writing. For example, you can introduce age-appropriate crossword puzzles and word games like Scrabble, which is great for everyone.
Little ones will especially love the write-the-word game, where they can search for items and write down the word when they find them.
Writing is a vital life skill. While developing strong writing skills requires a lot of time and patience, you can help a child in foster care with these simple yet practical writing strategies.
It’s important to understand that, despite the many challenges along the way, you must put your best efforts into working with these children. Regular reading, lots of writing time, and incorporating fun games and activities will go a long way to boosting their writing skills. By doing so, you’re contributing to their future success as a person, while teaching them how to express themselves.
Carol Duke is very keen on teaching students new, effective ways of learning. When not freelancing and blogging on education-related matters, Carol enjoys traveling, taking immense pleasure from visiting new countries.
She is also a writer for an essay support blog. If a child needs a helping hand in improving his or her skills, particularly with writing essays, a professional writer or tutor can help. Check out the best essay services and see how they can help develop a child’s writing skills, from word recognition to sentence structuring.
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