When it comes to the college admissions process, writing is a very important skill to have. When your teen is applying to college they will submit essays, personal statements, and writing samples. There are essays for admissions as well as essays for scholarships.

Parents often ask me what can their teen do to develop their writing skills. If your teen is in middle school, then they likely have support at school, either through an afterschool program or class assignments that help with developing writing skills. Most middle schools that I’ve visited will include grammar books and other composition texts as part of their literacy arts curriculum.parent-2-parent-final

If you have a teen in high school, then there may be limited resources, if any, to support them with their writing skills. By the time your teen is in high school, it’s assumed that they already have the necessary writing skills for the demands of high school and beyond.

Here are 4 ways to support your teen’s writing success at home:

1 – Encourage more reading for pleasure. Your teen can start with online or print magazine articles of any topic. It doesn’t matter the topic, what matters is that they will make the time to read for pleasure and not just for school. From there, encourage reading (and finishing) books. Reading goes a long way in terms of supporting their writing skills.

2 – Encourage your teen to journal. Journalling is about trying a different style of writing and being free to write. You can start this wonderful habit by giving your teen a journal as a gift. The really cool thing about journaling is that it’s done by hand and handwriting shapes the thinking process in a totally different way than pecking on a keyboard.

3 – You can model writing at home. Your teens are watching you. if they see you writing, they they develop the value of writing and its importance. You can write letters, notes, or stories to them. You are both a model and teacher. How about even reading your writing aloud to them and asking their opinion on corrections? This will confirm to your teen that revision is a natural part of the writing process.

4. Hire a writing tutor. It’s a more expensive option, but can be well worth the investment if your teen needs more foundational help, like sentence structure, paragraph development or structural organization. An alternative to private tutoring could be finding a small writing class. The small group instructor may be able to offer some one-on-one support when needed.

What other ways have you found to help your teen with writing?

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