Where the adults come in
Hi! I hope you’ve found some helpful ideas in this blog, and I thought that as we move towards the end of this one-year project, it would be great to involve you more as a parent, grandparents, cool aunt, etc. with a word or two about feedback.
I’m guessing that if you’re here you want to help your children improve their writing, or you want to motivate them to write more, or both.
Sometimes feedback can be overlooked and reduced to a single word such as “Wow!” or “Great!”, and while these kinds of expressions of admiration make us feel good about ourselves for a second, they don’t really help us build something on.
You don’t need to be an expert to give constructive feedback to your child, and you don’t have to make it a formal event, or produce a written report.
Here are some tips to help you give meaningful feedback:
1- Read the work. If you don’t have time when your children want to show it to you, you can tell them you will carefully read it later that day. Don’t make them wait too long, but don’t scan it either.
2- Be specific. If you want to praise your children for their effort or talent, pick something in the story, and point it out, for example, “I found this line very funny! You made me laugh,” or “I really enjoyed your description of the dinosaur, I could picture it in my head.”
High-fiving a child for each and every thing they do can be confusing to them and make your praise ultimately useless. If you want to encourage your children to keep up the good work, tell them exactly what it is that you were impressed with. You can say “Wow!” and “Great!” and make sure you follow it up with some details that your child can build on.
3- Ask questions. Children can tell whether you were paying attention if you ask follow-up questions. You can ask about the process (how did you think of this?), their vocabulary choices, or even the future of their story (what do you think this character will do next?). Engage with your children by spending some extra time discussing their stories.
Whatever your feedback, children may not go back to the latest story they’ve written but they may use this for future writing. And they will love the time and effort you put into reading their stories.