Help your Homeschooler Fall in Love with Writing (Styles)!
Originally posted on Homeschool.com.
Now that a couple of months have passed, and you’ve gotten back into the rhythm of the new homeschool year, you might be noticing that your student isn’t always looking forward to his or her writing assignments. Whether your child struggles with writing or breezes through it, sometimes switching things up can renew his or her enthusiasm. An active interest in writing will make it easier for students to boost skills that need a little help or even develop entirely new ones. While much of the time writing assignments may come in the form of freeform essays or reports, it might be time to try adding a defined writing style to the mix. Not only will it provide an additional challenge for some students, others will find that having a more structured style to write in will give them less to think through and more time to focus on grammar and mechanics.
Novels, along with epic sagas or poems, are the primary domain of the narrative writing style. In this style, a writer is telling a story by placing themselves in their character’s shoes and writing about a clearly defined event or series of events, usually during a specific timeframe. Assign your student a story with a clearly defined beginning, middle, and end; and have him or her write it in the first person. The structure can help students think their assignment through in sections and make completing it feel achievable instead of daunting. Writing in the first person will help your student gain a personal view of the story, making it easier to express thoughts and feelings.
Related to narrative writing, descriptive writing is all about bringing a reader into the written word and making it both immersive and relatable. You’ll find that most fiction is written in this style, as well as creative non-fiction such as travel guides and memoirs. If your student loves to use his or her senses to experience the world, this could be a way to bring that into the written word. It’s also a good break from the reports that come with a lot of learning assignments. Have your child write about a place they enjoy by describing their experience there using all five senses. You can even offer bonus points for using metaphors and similes correctly.
Probably the most common type of writing, expository writing, can be found in textbooks, news articles (with the exception of editorials), and research writing, as well as instructional guides and recipes. Since this type of writing sticks to the facts, it can take some of the pressure off a child who may be struggling with coming up with creative ideas to write about. Try assigning your student a “how-to” article and let him or her choose the subject. Make sure to keep in mind that information, not opinion, is the goal. This can be a great opportunity to practice working on research skills too!
Academic papers are a common place to find persuasive writing. This style of writing expresses an opinion and provides reasons as to why that opinion is correct. This includes offering evidence and presenting logical arguments to support that evidence. If your child loves to argue his or her position, this writing style might be a winner. Have your student write an essay with the goal of convincing the reader that the writer’s favorite idea should be theirs as well. The subject should be something that your child feels strongly about since that will provide incentive to think the argument through, rather than falling back on “because I said so.”
While there are only four major writing styles, there’s almost certainly a match for every writer. Whether your students prefer to create, analyze, argue, or dream, you can find a writing style they can connect with and enjoy. You can even combine writing styles in an assignment to make a “custom” writing style! Using these styles to find a new perspective on writing can help your child develop critical thinking skills, as well as new ways to express him or herself.
Keep the Learning Going
Time4Writing’s essay writing courses are a great way to learn how to write the types of essays required for school or college papers or to fuel a budding novelist’s dreams. Our online writing classes for elementary, middle, and high school students break down the writing process into manageable chunks, easily digested by young writers. Students steadily build writing skills and confidence guided by one-on-one instruction with a dedicated, certified teacher.
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