#1. Provide Students With Writing Frameworks
If students have a structure on which to hang their writing, they will have more creative energy. The more writing they do, the more they will be able to scaffold their own writing.
#2. Teach Students to Ask Better Questions
Kids start learning to ask questions as soon as they learn how to talk. Teach them to ask better questions, and you'll see their writing become more thoughtful.
#3. Create Spelling/ Vocabulary Practice Sessions
Improved spelling and increased vocabulary will make writing more relaxed and enjoyable.
#4. Explain Grammar in Context
Studies show that students are more likely to remember grammar concepts learned in the context of their current writing project. They not only remember them but also include them in future writing.
#5. Give Specific Feedback
Students need specific feedback about one or two errors that are repeated throughout a composition. Learning to write is a process. They need time to try out new techniques without fear of the 'red pen.'
Unless the composition is for a competition of some sort, each piece of writing is another opportunity to practice and experiment with writing techniques. When your child starts writing, give them high-level feedback. As they progress, gradually start focusing your feedback on the finer points of writing.
#6. Make Feedback Actionable
For each composition look at the big picture and ask yourself, "What's one thing my child could do to make their writing better?"
You're giving feedback to help them become a better 'writer,' not just to improve that specific composition.
We've found that when students are shown one or two items to improve, we see improvement in those areas in subsequent compositions. They become better writers.
#7. Form a Community of Peer Writers
When students have the opportunity to read and offer feedback on their peer's writing, they gain insight into their own writing. They not only learn how to give and receive feedback, but they also have to think about what would make the writing better. Many times they can apply the feedback they gave their peer, to their own writing.
#8. Schedule Time for Reading
Seeing how authors put words together is another key component to improving your student's writing. As Stephen King said, “If you don't have time to read, you don't have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”
#9. Encourage Wordplay
Freedom to play with words leads to a better understanding of word choice and how it affects the tone of a composition.
#10. Curate a Diverse Assignment Library
Multiple assignments in a variety of writing types - the more they practice the writing process, the better they will become at knowing what information they need and how to access that information
These skills can all be taught and improved with deliberate practice. Creating a writing habit is the key to developing a confident middle school writer.
Ready to help your child develop their writing habit?