How do you respond to your learner’s request to “read my work”? All too often, editing only examines punctuation, spelling, and sentence structure. But, examination of higher order thinking is a critical part of building a learner’s rich capacity with words and expression, whether in an essay, a poem, a report, or a piece of fiction.
Writing, especially the insight-quest nature of creative writing with intellectual depth, transforms lives. The power of words and imagery is an essential thinking tool as well as a critical work and career-ready skill. Strong writing increases the analytical and creative empathy necessary for complex solutions to the multilayered problems of a 21st century global workplace and world environment.
Feedback is necessary
Writers need in-depth feedback from readers. Strong, insightful feedback offers multilayered ways to examine writing’s effectiveness, influence, and opportunities. The following, helpful guidelines aid parents in providing strong, beneficial responses when reading their learner’s writing.
Respond with feeling
Let your learner know what impressions were conveyed in the writing. How did you feel as you read the piece? How did you feel at the conclusion? What images and lines held unique power for you? What words were well-chosen and effective?
This response is important. Strong learners naturally leverage their strengths as they develop new skills. Allow your responses to allow young writers to recognize points of strength in their writing.
Respond about ideas
Help your learner perceive how the intellectual ideas or theme in the writing unfurled. Identify the theme or main idea that you see in the work. What questions or images arose in your mind as the main idea became clear? What struck you as important or unusual as you read? What part of the work do you remember best?
Delivery of ideas is important. Let your response inform your learner about point of view, description, and argument. A thoughtful, intellectual response is critical in facilitating young writers in choices and in growing options in their writer’s toolboxes.
Identify positive issues before addressing weakness
Young learners grow most rapidly when they learn to leverage strengths to address weaknesses. But, often, young writers don’t fully realize the wonderful aspects of their own work. Help a young writer value a natural strength. Take care to facilitate the pleasures and successes of their writing quests as well as to identify areas of process and growth on the road to success.
In examining higher order growth areas, be open and helpful. Avoid being caustic or judgmental as that approach adds issues the creative mind must overcome in joining the analytical mind’s more structured approach.
Stay focused on points in the writing piece at hand. When needed, identify specific areas that faltered through your responses to the structure of ideas presented. Was there a point that you didn’t understand? Was there an element that seemed out of place or that might have been left out? Conversely, was there an element that seemed to need additional description, example, or support?
Let a young writer own the work
As you make suggestions, be clear that every writer makes choices. Let learners express what their thoughts were and what choices they made while writing. A learner’s examination of self-process is an important element of growth. If it is helpful or requested, indicate what you might do if this piece of writing were your own or offer a professional example that your learner can consider.
Build on strengths and nurture experimentation
Again, identify the strengths that you perceived in thought, presentation, and style. Encourage your learner to do more of those wonderful elements. Nurture strengths as segues to addressing weaknesses.
Remember always, all writing, even analytical work, is experimental, personal, and creative. Encourage a trial and error process for your young learner and be available to read the next draft!
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