As a teacher at Sunrise RTC, parents often ask me how to improve writing skills in their daughters. The answer is easy to say, but not as easy to implement: teach your child to enjoy reading.
Reading makes you a better writer. The more you read, the more you will experience good writing. As Paul Heavenridge explains, “A writer who doesn’t read is like a musician who doesn’t listen to music or a filmmaker who doesn’t watch films. It is impossible to do good work without experiencing the good work that has been gone before.” Because reading is the only way to study good writing, it makes sense that the more you read, the better writer you will become.
The problem becomes, how do you help your student learn to enjoy reading? A lot of teens associate reading with school, which let’s face it, can be pretty awful at times (or totally awesome when you have amazing teachers) Because of this negative association, it can be hard to convince students to read.
How to Improve Writing Skills
There are several ways a parent can be a positive influence:
- Be an example. Let your students see you reading. When a child sees her parents reading, she is more likely to become interested in reading. Q&A: Raising Kids Who Want To Read
- Listen to audiobooks in the car. “Audiobooks are another form of reading that both parents and children can enjoy together. Although specific reading skills may not be developed by listening, audiobooks can foster a love of story or information, and an appreciation for language.” Raising a reader: How parents can instill a love of the …
- Help your teen find others with the same interests. “Since teens are hugely influenced by their peers, getting them involved in online reader forums or fan fiction can be another way for them to access books” From the Homefront: Raising a reader: How parents can …
By showing your student that reading can be an enjoyable activity, and guiding her toward appropriate, interesting, and relevant literature, you can help your reader become a better writer. “What we learn as readers, we use as writers. Maybe we don’t always do the best job at putting that knowledge to use, but that just takes practice. Over time, our writing becomes in some ways a compilation of all the things we’ve learned as readers, blended together in our own unique recipe.”
Want to know how to improve writing skills in teens? Get them to read.
- “Why Read? Reason #7. The More One Reads, the Better …” 2015. 11 Aug. 2015
- “How to Use Reading to Become a Better Writer | Write to Done” 2013. 11 Aug. 2015
By SuAnn Davis, English Teacher at Sunrise Residential Treatment Center