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How Can Your Child Self-Assess Their Writing?

This is the dream! To teach your child to be able to check their writing, and know which skills they need to use or identify in their writing.

This comes with practice, and it is not always an easy fix. As I have spotlighted prolific writers such as the inspiring J K Rowling, the road to success as a writer, requires slow and steady steps, that are only developed with practice and a lot of patience. (And maybe a lot of coffee!)

Top Ways Your Child Can Self-Assess Their Writing

Teaching our children to be more self-aware is a great skill that some might have naturally, especially the intrapersonal learner, which I talk about in my previous blog post that focuses on different learning styles your child may have.

But how can we incorporate these self-monitoring strategies into their writing?

Check model answers

If you want your child to get better in their writing, sometimes they just need to see a good example, that can help them to understand what they need to do to improve.

Sometimes, they might not understand what they need to work on, even if you tell them 101 times, which can end up aggravate them, which can lead to them feeling self-defeated.

So why not try to:

- Get model answers of great from other students: Ask your child's teacher if they have any good examples, or go online and check out some great videos that include model answers:

KS4 - 14 yrs +

GCSE creative writing model answer and how to add specific writing techniques:

KS3 - 12 yrs +

How to Write a Short Story | Writing a Good Short Story Step-by-Step

Show not tell writing - high school English - writing advice for teens

Understand the skills they need to use

Your child needs to be aware of the skills they need to add to their writing before they self assess anything. This is when they will feel more at ease when they can identify and understand the skills they need to include.

So, here is a rough list that I did add to my last blog post, which includes the skills they would need when writing to: comprehend/analyse or describe/narrate:

Reading - Comprehension/analyse:

CF: Clear focus in the answer and referring back to the question with the use of paragraphs.

E: Adding evidence (quote) from the text to support your answer.

AQ: Analysing the quote.

WT: Mentioning the writing technique that is used in the chosen quote.

E: Explaining your answer in more detail and referring back to the question.

Z: Zoom into a word in the quote and explaining what does it tell the reader.

ER: What effect do all these examples have on the reader?

WM: What is the writer's message?

Writing - Describe/narrate:

AV: Using ambitious vocabulary - words that are not usually used E.g instead of the word excited - use the word 'elated'

AP: Ambitious punctuation - punctuation that is used to create a particular effect or emotion E.g question marks, hyphens, ellipsis

WT: Using a variety of writing techniques E.g alliteration, similes, personification, metaphors, etc.

SO: Using sentence openers E.g Cautiously, suddenly, etc.

S: Using a variety of sentence structures E.g Simple, compound, complex.

SP: Spelling

P: Punctuation

G: Grammar

PLEASE NOTE: This is just a sample of skills for reading and writing, so doesn't include all of them

Celebrate achievements

This is an example from one of my students - She highlighted the skills that was successfully used in her essay. She was given the success criteria and colour coded each skill so it was easier to differentiate. As a result, she felt more confident and aware of how many skills she successfully used.

You have to teach your child to be more conscious of their achievements, and you are both focusing on their progress first, rather than their weaknesses.

If we just look at their weaknesses, they will not be aware of their strengths, and may not apply these well-executed skills to their next piece of writing.

This will also help them with their confidence even if they still need to improve on certain areas, at least they know they are doing something right.

Set Goals/Targets

When they are aware of what went well in their writing, they can now highlight improvements that they need to make, moving forward.

It is always good for them to write what they need to improve on, and what they are going to do to apply these skills in their next piece of writing.

For Example, "I need to use ambitious vocabulary, and next time I am going to use ambitious words - change the word excited to elated"

PLEASE NOTE: Keep your targets to a maximum of at least two or three as Romeo wasn't built in a day so we need to just make sure we need to make sure their targets are easy to digest and not overwhelming.

Work on Goals/Targets

When your child has recognised what they need to improve on, it is now time to re-write areas of their writing that needs work.

It doesn't need to be the whole essay. Get them to re-write this in a different colour pen, like green so you can see where they have attempted their 2nd re-draft.

It is important to remember if they need to redraft parts of their work, they need to know where, and how they are going to develop their answer. So they need to give themself a clear goal or target.

Self Assess Their Work Often

If your child is being homeschooled, this is a must to self-assess their work EVERY time they write a long essay.

But to be honest, whether your child is homeschooled or go to a school, they should get into a habit of self-assessing their work independently.

Not only I am a writing tutor, but I am also a trained English teacher in a secondary school. Therefore, I usually mark students' work mostly when they have an assessment, and due to the current pandemic, it is hard to mark students' work frequently, as we have to practice social distancing.

So the more your child self assess their work, the more reflective and accurate they would be in identifying their writing skills.

Other Self-Assessing Strategies

  • Visual cues

  • Outline writing tasks/assignments

  • Use a self-monitoring schedule - a checklist

  • Verbal cues - Recordings

  • Reminder notes - Post-its

  • Goal setting

  • Journaling in a notebook - Practicing their writing and note-taking

  • Self Talk - Teaching them to reflect and read their work out loud

  • Modeling from peers - swapping written work and peer assessing

So To Conclude:

Top Ways Your Child Can Self-Monitor Their Writing

Check model answers

Understand the skills they need to use

Celebrate achievements

Set Goals/Targets

Work on Goals/Targets

Self Assess Their Work Often

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