Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Top 10 Writing Mistakes to Avoid

1. Construct the story. Think of a story just like a building and the writer as the architect. Every story needs a beginning, middle and an end to keep it from falling apart. Young scribes often are tempted to begin writing without thinking through the whole story. Encourage your child to resist writing until he's thought out all the plot points. For more visually oriented children, drawing the story's events before they write can keep the story on track.

2. Keep your focus. Young children easily can stray from the story. Make sure that every element of the story backs up the overall theme or message.

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3. Spelling errors. Story assignments offer perfect opportunities to learn the value of a dictionary. Help your child review her final draft, carefully rereading the story to ensure it doesn't contain any silly spelling mistakes that will cost serious points.

4. Proper punctuation. As your child progresses through school, his grammar lessons will get more complex. For now, be sure he's using the basics properly. He should remember to capitalize each new sentence and end it with a period.

5. Writing in circles. Don't bore your readers with repetition. Keep the ideas coming, but help your child avoid too much information. Excessive detail can turn off readers just as much as an inexpressive story.

6. Transition. Creativity shouldn't come at the expense of logic. Even if your child is writing about aliens on Mars, be sure that she's using logical evidence to move the plotline along. Each new idea should connect to an older one.

7. Go with the flow. Don't try and correct each and every word as you go. Your child should write his story out and then go back and make corrections. Let the creativity flow on the first draft and correct mistakes or leaps in judgment the second time around. Use this opportunity to teach your child the importance of self-editing and the necessity for writing several drafts.

8. Plagiarism. Young students sometimes don't even realize that they're copying someone else's work. Take a trip to the library to teach your child the proper way to credit reference materials used in her essay so that both authors get their proper due.

9. Write from the heart. If young writers get bored by the topic they're covering, that probably means the readers will grow bored, too. Encourage your child to write about things that matter most to him so his passion will show in his prose.

10. End well. Writing an essay can be a tiresome
activity. By the end, many young scribes just give up, leaving readers hanging. Give them a hand to close one chapter before opening another.

Article Provided by Sylvan Learning Center

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