When parents ask for writing help for their children, what kind of help do they want?
- Sentence structures?
- Introductions and hooks?
- Cursive handwriting?
- Particular types of writing (paragraphs? essays? book reports? short answer responses? long answer responses? summaries?)
- Narrative elements (character development? plot? setting? foreshadowing? point of view? conflict? dialog? voice? suspense?)
- Verb tenses?
- Figures of speech?
Most parents have no idea so many elements combine to create good writing. When they see a list like this, they are taken aback.
That is why it is important for parents and teachers to agree on what students should learn at various ages. If a parent thinks the student should be perfecting grammar, but the teacher instead focuses on organization of information, the parent will not be happy. Or if a parent thinks a student should be using a great piece of rhetoric as a model, but the teacher wants the student to develop his own way of expression, again the parent will be dissatisfied.
Only when a parent is aware of all that a student is expected to learn can the parent and teacher have a meaningful conversation about how to improve a student’s writing.