Helping Your Child Become a Better Writer

Helping Your Child Become a Better Writer



The best way to help your child become a better writer is to separate the mechanics of writing (grammar, punctuation, handwriting, spelling) from the creative part.  Your child’s strength is in his vivid imagination – an important asset in all writers.  Help your child learn that writing is a two-stage process: the first stage is getting the ideas on paper; the second step is correcting or editing the work.


When writing the first draft of an essay or story, encourage your child to write things down in whatever form or order he is comfortable with.  Once those ideas are in a written form, you can guide your child to developing a more polished version.  If your child is very young, you will have to give a lot of help, but as he grows older, he will learn to do more for himself.  Keep in mind that even professional writers hire editors to proofread and correct their work!




A good technique for getting ideas to flow on the paper is to use mind-mapping.  Your child will start with a main idea and then write down a few words or will draw a picture representing the idea in the middle of a blank sheet of paper.  He will then draw lines that go out from the center for each main idea he has about the subject.  At each line he should write a few words or draw a picture.  He can also add details to each idea by writing even more words and connecting them with a line to the idea they relate to.






Once the ideas are written down in this mind mapping format, you can help your child develop them into written sentences, using the child’s map as a guide for developing the structure of his paragraph or essay.




Introduce your child to poetry or verse.  Try using free verse-poetry that does not have to have a particular rhythm or cadence, and does not have to rhyme.  One of the advantages of writing poetry is that it frees the child from writing conventions, such as the need to use complete sentences.  It also allows your child to experiment with the sounds of words and to use new words that are evocative of a particular mood or feeling.


Your child might enjoy writing haiku, mostly because it is short.  Haiku traditionally has three lines consisting of seventeen syllables in total, usually arranged in lines of five, seven, and five syllables.  Although the form is very brief, writing haiku will help your child develop sensitivity to the phonetic structure of word segments.






Another fun form of poetry is to make a slideshow poem.  You can have your child take 5 or 6 photographs based on a theme (a recent trip, a family member’s life).  Import the pictures into a software program such as PowerPoint or iPhoto and have the child write a poem based on the pictures by posting a word or two with each photo image.  Make it really fun by adding special effects, transitions, or music to spice up the slideshow poem.


slideshow poem


Teach your child how to write an acrostic poem. This is where the first letter of each line spells out his name when read from top to bottom.  Once the child writes a poem based on his name, then he can write about family members, pets and friends.






You might also encourage your child to write a play, it is sometimes easier for the reluctant writer to focus only on the dialogue among the characters.  Your child might enjoy presenting his play as a puppet show or using a video camera to make his own movie using his own written screenplay.


puppet show



Writing, like reading is one of those tasks that will only improve through a lot of practice.  Set up a designated writing area somewhere in your home and have writing material available to your child at all times.  This includes markers, pencils, pens, and crayons, as well as coloring books, paper, and journals.  Provide lots of writing opportunities for your child and above all – keep it fun!



Karina Richland, M.A. is the Founder and Director of PRIDE Learning Centers, located in Los Angeles and Orange County.  Ms. Richland is a certified reading and learning disability specialist.   Ms. Richland speaks frequently to parents, teachers, and professionals on learning differences, and writes for several journals and publications.  You can reach her by email at or visit the Pride Learning Center website at:



Summer Programs at PRIDE Learning Center

Summer Programs at PRIDE Learning Center

Summer is the perfect time to catch up on any learning deficiencies your child may have. By dedicating more time than is possible during the school year, a student can make a remarkable amount of progress during the summer – as much as a year’s progress in just 4-6 weeks!

In addition, working on skill-building during the summer months prevents further deterioration of skills – the dreaded “summer slide.”

At PRIDE Learning Center we offer an amazing summer program to help students enter the new school year prepared to meet and exceed classroom expectations.

Students attend Monday – Friday from 9:00am – 12:00pm or 12:30pm – 3:30pm.

Parents can sign up for any weeks between June 2nd and August 29th

We have locations in Redondo Beach, Newport Beach, Mission Viejo and San Clemente.

Struggling Readers

For students struggling to learn to read, we offer out intensive Orton-Gillingham reading program. Your child will work one-on-one with our credentialed and Orton-Gillingham Certified teachers (not tutors) using the best research-based and multi-sensory materials. At PRIDE Learning Center we specialize in helping children with learning differences by focusing on the underlying foundational skills that are preventing your child from reading.

Reading Comprehension

Designed for students who know how to read fluently but are struggling with comprehension, this intensive program teachers your child strategies and skills to improve “Reading to Learn.” The goal of this program is to teach children to be efficient readers so that they can learn the content begin taught in any of their classes. These are skills that must be explicitly learned, they do not come naturally to many students.   At PRIDE Learning Center, our highly effective comprehension program provides students with the ability to conceptualize mental images that match content, and use language to describe those images. Starting at a concrete level and moving towards more abstract concepts, we are able to help students visualize the content of what they are reading.

Basic Math Skills

Our math program is for students of all ages who are struggling with basic math concepts. At PRIDE Learning Center, we build an understanding of mathematical concepts by using visual learning tools, game playing and exercises that engage all the senses. Our one-on-one, multisensory math program gives students a strong math foundation. Students master their number facts and numerical fluency. They are given the essential tools for a strong math foundation.

Writing Skills

Our writing skills program effectively teaches essential skills in careful order: from parts of speech, to sentence structure, to paragraphs, to complete essays. For the reluctant beginner writer, our program provides the essential foundation in thinking and writing skills. For the more proficient and advanced writer, it offers opportunities, strategies, and techniques to apply them.

For more information on our summer programs call us at 866-774-3342 ext. 1 or you can email us at: