When a child struggles with writing, extra help can alleviate frustration and get the child back on track. Online tutors, games and resources provide tips and activities to get children writing, improving their skill with every word. Whether you are a parent or teacher, you can participate in supplemental online programs to help children develop and grow. And your encouragement, praise and feedback can turn a point of frustration into a joyful experience.
Tutors and Classes
Since one-on-one tutoring helps many children overcome literacy challenges, it could provide the direct attention and new perspective a child needs to improve writing skills. Some tutoring programs adapted for online delivery also offer offline components. Many, however, including Kaplan Kids and Time4Writing, are online learning classes designed to supplement in-school learning. These services may offer an assessment to pinpoint a child’s strengths and weaknesses. Students learn by completing interactive presentations and exercises. Other services, such as TutorVista.com, provide one-on-one, live tutoring through Web-based conferencing.
If you are a teacher, you can participate online with your students to provide the extra attention they need. With online tools like Criterion, you provide a writing prompt or topic and then guide your student through the writing process. Writing Roadmap provides a similar service with built-in scoring and reporting mechanisms, allowing you to manage and track your students’ progress. If you are looking for something less formal, I Can Write Online provides writing prompts, interactivity and student progress tracking while allowing you to provide feedback every step of the way.
Parents also play an important role in helping their children improve writing skills. You can use the same tools mentioned above for teachers. However, you can make the biggest impact by visiting some websites yourself. The National Council of Teachers of English website, for example, offers tips for parents. Among them, you can help your child improve by providing appropriate writing materials, setting a writing example and providing the appropriate amount of encouragement and praise. Finally, visit some of the games and other online resources provided throughout this article with your child. Discuss the exercises and support their growth.
Most experts agree that children learn best through play. Teachers and parents can provide extra practice and learning to elementary school students through free online games. For example, the Grammar Gorillas on Funbrain requires children to select the correct word in the sentence to feed the gorillas bananas. Kids.gov offers a list of online games dedicated to developing literacy skills.
Key pals are email-based pen pals. Parents and teachers can sign up children to exchange emails with peers in other cities or countries. The Teachers Corner provides a database of classrooms looking for online and offline pen pals. Select a grade level, browse the list of available classes and contact the teacher to get started. Cyberkids provides a message board where parents and children can connect to start key pals.
To practice penmanship or other writing skills, parents and teachers can find printable resources online. DLTK Growing Together and Education.com and are just a couple of the available websites offering free printables for extra practice.
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