June 16, 2019

It comes as no surprise that US students are struggling with writing. According to the National Assessment of Education Progress’ most recent national survey, only one in four 8th graders and one in four 12th graders were proficient or advanced in writing. One of the biggest culprits, reports Vantage Learning, is texting. Texting not only compromises schoolwork but the problem is creeping into the workplace too. In addition, texting is teaching children to think only in simple sound bites, without complex reasoning.

Below are some of the most common student writing mistakes, according to Elena Cupingood, product manager of MY Access!, Vantage Learning’s award-winning classroom writing tool:

  • Poor spelling – which is also compounded by “text speak”
  • Problems with subject/verb agreement
  • Incomplete sentences (fragments) and run on sentences
  • Commonly confused words – When to use its or it’s? They’re, their, there? Loose or lose? Affect or effect? Two, to, too? Weather or whether?
  • Misuse or lack of commas

So how do you engage your children in the art of writing when they would rather be texting? Cupingood recommends some strategies that have some unique twists:

  1. Encourage, encourage, encourage! Providing positive feedback about your children’s writing will encourage them to write more.
  2. Have fun writing quick paragraphs. Children do enough school work, encourage them to email you a quick paragraph on something that interests them.
  3. Turn the tables on texting. Have your children write paragraphs just using text speak. Next, read it aloud to see if you can understand what they were trying to communicate. Likewise, have a poor writing contest. Challenge your children to see how many writing mistakes they can put into an essay. Learning what constitutes a mistake helps them to learn how to avoid them. Besides, it’s fun! Write one yourself and compare which paragraph is worse!
  4. Encourage persuasive writing. If your children would like something, have them write a request with bullets about why they need or want it or how they will use it. It sounds a little formal but they’ll learn that this is a component of persuasive communication.
  5. Read what your children are reading. Encouraging reading actually helps to engage children in the writing process. Teen books have taken off and are fueling Hollywood. Have your children recommend books to you. In addition, consider creating your own book club with other parents and their children so books and writing styles can be discussed.
  6. Have screenplay time. Do your children love movies? See if you can download a favorite screenplay and work together on writing a sequel!
  7. Demonstrate the power of good writing.  Arrange to have your children meet local professionals who have writing careers — authors, copywriters, journalists, playwrights, songwriters, editors and more. When they learn about the careers that are open to them and the opportunities they present, they become more engaged.

For more information on student and professional writing tools, please visit www.VantageLearning.com and www.correctenglish.com or call 800.230.2213.


Categories: In The News, National News