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(ARA) – Whether their child is intimidated by a blank page or can express himself well on paper, parents are always looking for ways to help kids improve their writing skills. Writing proficiency not only helps make children more successful in their studies now, but can also make them more confident and successful as adults.

From e-mail and texting to text books and even video games, children need to read and write well every day. Parents can do a lot to help kids nurture good writing skills at any age. From speech recognition software to popular word games, here are some tactics parents can use:

Write a lot, read a lot

Children who read a lot can naturally develop an affinity for writing. Parents who read to children when they are young should encourage them to strike out on their own as they grow older. It’s easy to find plenty of age-appropriate material for children in elementary, middle school and high school. Many schools and teachers maintain lists of recommended reading on topics and subjects to satisfy every interest.

Encourage children’s natural curiosity about writing by giving them fun opportunities to practice. Does your middle-schooler love comic books? Suggest he create his own, complete with colorful artwork and script. You can find software programs and online websites to help.

Choose board games and video games that incorporate word play, like Wheel of Fortune, Scrabble or Boggle. Create a family message board in the kitchen and ask each family member to write something about their day on the board every evening; not only does this encourage kids to practice writing, it can help parents keep in touch with what kids are doing. You can also encourage children to keep a journal of their daily activities, or jot down their observations in a notebook when they travel on vacation.

The verbal factor

Most children, like most adults, can think and speak much more clearly and naturally than they can type or write. Speech recognition can help students who may feel overwhelmed when faced with a blank screen and a blinking cursor. The software can help them put their thoughts into words without getting hung up on the process of typing or writing, and can make it easier for children to complete homework assignments that they may have struggled with before. Writing becomes a more natural process, allowing the student to just say what is on his or her mind and have it appear almost immediately.

Products like Dragon NaturallySpeaking help to address the needs of students in middle school through college age with special features like a “teens” accent model that is tuned to the voice patterns of younger speakers. Students who have struggled with the written word in the past often report a renewed enthusiasm for writing when using speech recognition products like Dragon that transcribe the spoken word almost instantly – three times faster than typing. Log on to to learn more about Dragon.

Like any skill, writing improves with practice. Parents should help children seek out and enjoy every opportunity to practice writing in fresh, fun ways.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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Author: Andy Quayle

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