And just like that, we are back to school and the Summer holidays is over!
As a parent, you might be worried that your teenager may struggle to get back into school life, or you might be so excited to have the respite from keeping them occupied during the Summer.
Either way, we want to make sure that our children go through a steady transition back into learning again, whether you are homeschooling your teen or they are in school.
So how can we get them back into writing if they are:
A reluctant writer?
Fears of not being able to perform to the best of their ability?
Whatever their fears may be, here are my top 4 ways on how they can make that steady transition into writing again.
Record Goals For The New School Year
I have mentioned this in a few blog posts before, but I cannot distressed how important it is for your teen to record their goals for the week, month or year in a notebook or an electronic device.
Recording their goals can:
- Reduce anxiety.
- Increase their confidence.
- Help them to be more focused.
- Eliminate redundant or pointless tasks.
- Give them more time to do what they love doing.
So there is no better time to explore their goals and start writing them down for the new school year.
S.M.A.R.T Goals are:
S - Specific - What exactly do they want to achieve? (action words)
M - Measurable - How long should they monitor their goal?
A - Attainable - Does the goal suit your child's habits and abilities - Do they feel like it is achievable?
R - Relevant - Improves your child's abilities and progress
T - Time - based - When is the deadline to reach that specific target (timeframe)
I will read for 30 minutes every night for the next month.
- It is Specific because it is a reading goal.
- It is Measurable because I will be able to maintain 30 mins of reading every night.
- It is Attainable because I read better at night time so it is achievable.
- It is Relevant because I need to be more consistent in my reading.
- It is Time- based because it tells me that I will check my progress at the end of the month.
Check out one of my last blog posts that shows you how to use S.M.A.R.T goals with your teenager - you can also download your free goal chart tracker.
Write In A Diary/Journal
Your teen may do this already, but if they don't. Encourage them to write in a diary, this can:
- Help them to regulate their emotions.
- Encourage them to problem solve.
- Build more self-awareness.
- Reduce Anxiety.
Write A Letter To Their Future Self
I have done this activity with my students and it is very effective. All you have to do is get them to visualise their future selves. And usually, they are in a place where they are at their happiest and they have achieved their ultimate dreams.
Then get them to write a letter as their present self to that person.
This encourages them to:
- Visualise and manifest where they would like to be.
- Give them the confidence to believe that they will achieve great things in their life.
- Help them to acknowledge their hopes and fears at that time.
Here's a quick example of a letter for students that may be starting a new school.......
Dear future self,
I have had such a nerve-wracking day today! I remember waking up feeling nervous about being a little fish in a big pond and now I’m sat here in my English lesson almost laughing at how silly I was for being so nervous anxious. I’m glad relieved I’ve managed to make some friends because I think I’ll need their help finding my way around this supersized school.
Write A Language Autobiography
I mentioned this exercise in my first blog post a while ago but thought I would add it to my top 4.
I find this task to be a great way to get your child to understand their literacy journey.
It is good to understand your literacy journey also.
So the main headings are:
NAME, AGE, PLACE OF BIRTH?
WHAT WAS THE FIRST BOOK YOU READ?
WHAT DO YOU REMEMBER ABOUT READING WHEN YOU WERE IN SCHOOL?
DID YOU HAVE WITH reading OR WRITE WITH YOUR FAMILY?
DO YOU REMEMBER THE FIRST TIME YOU WENT TO THE LIBRARY?
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE BOOK OR GENRE?
HOW HAS YOUR EXPERIENCE OF READING HELPED YOU TODAY?
Here is my small example below, I hope you like it:
My Language Autobiography
In my experience of reading and language, I remember being heavily influenced by my family’s Caribbean dialect. This varied from speaking, hearing, and seeing different forms of interaction around a particular social environment.
Even different events became a routine or ritual that was connected to language. We attended certain events that helped us to unite as culture such as Notting Hill Carnival.
We religiously attended this event and dressed up in costumes or played steel pan. This gave us a sense of pride about where we came from and united us with other people from the same culture.
My father spoke patois fluently and could identify others in public that may have spoken the same language, just by their persona.
This may have been developed through his wisdom or his ability to recognise physically through others the same reflected mannerisms that he had. My parents’ skills in literacy were self-taught as my father left school at the tender age of 13 and my mother at 15. They both migrated to London from Grenada.
My father and mother were 25 years apart so they had different experiences. He witnessed the early stages of economic and racial oppression when he arrived in London in the 1940s, so he had no choice but to accept any available job.
He worked in three different jobs to make ends meet so education was not an option for him at the time. The first book he read was the Bible and he began to practice as a Jehovah witness in his 20s.
My Mum did get an opportunity to study in England from 11 – 15years old and the Bible was also the first book she read. Her religious background was Seventh Day Adventist, so they went to church on Saturdays and she lived with my great–grandmother in Grenada who made reading the bible compulsory.
Therefore, my parents used to read the bible to me before I went to bed and that was my bedtime reading.
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