Writing assignments can be difficult for many students but there are a few minor interventions parents can make at the right time to make the process easier and ensure a better grade. Here are some writing tips that can help your child improve essay and composition skills.

  • Understand what is required. Encourage your child to look at the requirements for the assignment. If it is a paper, how many sources are needed and what is the page requirement? If your child does not meet these basic requirements, he or she is unlikely to get their desired grade. Many teachers will give rubrics for papers. These rubrics outline exactly what is needed to receive an “A”, so remind your child to ensure that everything in their paper meets the rubric. If there is an essay on the final, encourage your child to read the prompt thoroughly. Sometimes a question may contain multiple components, so it’s important to understand everything that is being asked. If necessary, your child can make a checklist of all the points that must be addressed so that he or she can look over their essay and ensure that all criteria were met.
  • Manage time wisely.  It’s very easy for students to procrastinate and put off writing a paper, but writing a paper at the last minute very rarely works. Encourage your child to break the assignment into sections and work on one section each night so that he or she does not become overwhelmed with work at the last minute. For instance, a paper may be broken down in the following way: brainstorming, outline, research, first draft, revisions, and final draft. By breaking the paper down this way, your child is less likely to be stressed out and more likely to produce quality work. If your child is answering an essay on a test, it might be easiest to first outline the main points and then write the essay. This can help your child ensure that he or she has a structure for the essay and meets all the points required.
  • Avoid plagiarism.  Many schools take plagiarism very seriously and often there are severe academic consequences for plagiarism.  Your child can also use a plagiarism checker to copy and paste their paper into a search engine that will check their paper against other sources to ensure that they have not plagiarized. A list of free plagiarism checkers can be found at  http://bloggerspassion.com/10-free-plagiarism-checker-websites/.  Avoid plagiarism by citing sources.  Have your child find out if the teacher wants a particular format followed, then use a site like OWL Purdue to find the various style guides.
  • Review finished work.  Many students forget to review their completed essay for grammar and spelling mistakes. Remind your child to look over their work before turning it in. If your child has written a paper, remind them to turn on the spell check and grammar check functions on their writing processor so that they can ensure they are turning in quality work.

Most of these tips are easy to follow and don’t add much time to the writing process, yet they can greatly influence the quality of your child’s work and the grade that they receive. And remember, if your child is having particular difficulty with a paper and needs additional help, In-Home Tutors has some great writing tutors. Call us!