Helping your kids be better writers


I don’t know about you, but I have to sit on my hands and keep my mouth shut when it comes to reviewing my kids’ writing assignments for school. After all, I am not their teacher and they are still learning.

My kids all attend the same school, which has implemented a writing program called Lucy Calkins. The teachers begin instruction with this program in kindergarten and it goes through 5th grade.

So far, it seemed pretty straight forward until 3rd grade this year. Suddenly, the kids are required to write more than the standard 5 paragraph essay I grew up with.

There are thesis statements and hook sentences.

They must use the 5 senses, know how to indent and how to use transition sentences between paragraphs.

They must use research and know how to cite their resources.

They have to know the difference between literal and figurative language.

They have to know the author’s intent and make inferences.

They have to use proper spelling, grammar, and punctuation.

They also have to implement dialogue and dialogue tags.

There are so many rules that it can cause their imaginations to freeze up.

I feel bad for my son as he struggles to follow all of these rules and keep them straight. What happened to the days of experiencing the joy of writing freely?

They have years ahead of them to learn the rules.

I say let them explore and go where their imaginations take them. I’ve seen the flicker of excitement in my son’s eyes at the beginning of the year dimmer as each rule was instituted.

Summer vacation is about one month away now and my goal is to have all three of my children learn to love writing again.


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