Helping your Child Study for a Writing Test

How do you prepare for a writing test?  How do you improve your child’s reading comprehension and essay writing skills? What can you do to help?   Today, we continue our series of how to tips for helping your child study for tests in different subject matters. 

Child writing 2

Writing in a comprehensive and logical manner is tough to learn for your older elementary school child.  Reading comprehension and essay writing skills don’t just happen overnight, but have to be learned in little increments.

What can we as parents do to help them learn to study for writing tests and essay writing?

Here are a few methods to consider in helping your child improve their reading comprehension and essay writing skills in preparation for writing tests.

Read Aloud and Talk About It

Have your child read the text aloud to himself or herself – there is research that proves that reading texts aloud will help that information to stick in their memory.  Then have your child tell you about the text in their own words.  Did they pick up on the main points/facts?  Did they understand the story plot? Who are the characters?

Read and Circle

Where you have reading comprehension tests with associated questions, have your child practice these by reading the questions first.  With those questions in mind, then have your child read the text and circle the important words that answer those questions.  When he or she then sets to responding to those questions, they can review the text by looking at the words they circled.  For example, if one of the questions is: what is the setting of the story; and the text reads: One stormy day in the forest, Laura was picking berries.  Your child should have circled the word “forest”.

Cover the Important Questions

Teach your child the important questions to ask for any text: who, what, when, where, why and how.  By outlining these questions on a piece of paper, have your child read through the text and circle the answers to these questions.  This method will help your child get to the bottom of most of the important questions that will be asked in a writing test.

Create a Mind Map

Often when children start writing essays they end up being a jumble of ideas and the text too fragmented.  Help your child organize their ideas by teaching them how to create a mind map.  The central circle should contain the topic of the essay and the outlining circles the ideas that contribute to the statements/points/opinions your child would like to make in their essay.  Once you have outlined your mind map, have your child number each circle so that they appear in order and make logical sense when writing the essay.  Have them use the mind map as a plan when they then write their essays.