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By Dr. Felecia Nace, Family and Community Relations Office, New Jersey Department of Education
Take the opportunity to use reading to enhance your child’s writing skills. As a parent or guardian, you naturally want to help your child become a good writer so that your child will have the ability to communicate in a clear, effective manner. One simple way to help a child reach this goal is to make as many connections between reading and writing as possible. For instance, books that your child enjoys reading and that are well-written can provide examples of good writing such as well-written sentences and paragraphs, which you can use as a guide to improve your child’s quality of writing.
Think about your own reading experiences. What attracts you to good writing? What elements of an author’s writing make you prefer one book or magazine article over another? Sometimes an author’s, vocabulary (word choice), clarity of writing or creativity can make a huge difference in determining if you or your child will enjoy reading a book or other reading materials. We are all authors when we choose to communicate in writing. By the same token, we need to remind children that when they put pen to paper, they too are assuming the role of “author.”
Like professional authors, children should be mindful of their word choices, the purpose for writing, and clarity among other factors. Good books, articles and other well-written materials can provide great examples of good writing for children of all ages. For example, pointing out to young writers the proper use of capitalization and punctuation in books can remind them of specific writing rules. We need to help children make these connections.
3 Easy Ways to Make Reading and Writing Connections:
This approach can lead to fun educational family discussions which can take place on a regular basis. The conversations could focus on one or two good sentences in a book or an article. The amount and sophistication of the sentences that you decide to discuss with your child will depend on their academic level and age. If done a few times a week, you could awaken the author in your child.