Using CHOPS for Successful Writing
Teaching Your Child to Write
The writing process can be difficult for many students. However, it can pose more difficulty for children with reading issues. While children have immense imaginations which aids in storytelling, they may lack the ability to put it all down on paper. The writing process appears to be simply writing down what you know about a topic or the story in your head. Yet, writing down words on paper isn’t so simple for a child who struggles to read the written word. Don’t be discouraged by this since many children who struggle with reading become great writers. The process of writing needs to be revealed gently.
Writing involves imagination, grammar, vocabulary, spelling, punctuation, sentence structure, planning, and proofing. A student cannot be expected to develop all these skills at one time. The process of teaching your child to write needs to be broken apart and developed in stages set at the pace of the child. Writing takes practice and practice means making plenty of mistakes but it also includes progress. If your child is frustrated with writing, it is important to continue the practice of it. However, you can encourage writing in smaller segments to build confidence.
Where do you start teaching your child to write?
With any child but especially a child who struggles with reading and writing, the first place to start is to allow free writing. Continue to teach basic grammar and the writing process but allow your child time to just sit and write without correction as a first step. For example, assign your child a topic to write a paragraph about. Tell your child to just write without worrying about the mechanics. It is important that your child can write his thoughts out on paper without the pressure of making it “perfect”. If a child feels the weight of having to not only organize his thoughts but organize them without grammatical and spelling errors, the child will become frustrated. Next, it is time to take what the child wrote and organize it into a paragraph. Instead of marking it up with red pen, the child will take the role of proofreader. Not only will this alleviate stress between student and teacher, it will help the student get in the habit of correcting himself. This self-correcting method is called CHOPS.
What is CHOPS?
- Out Loud
CHOPS is an easy to remember acronym that will help in teaching your child to write. CHOPS covers the basics to help ease your child into developing successful writing skills.
The child can implement it by going one letter at a time. First, he can look for any capitalization errors. Then, he can make sure his handwriting is legible. Next, he can read his sentences out loud to ensure he didn’t forget a word or didn’t add a word. He can determine if the sentence sounds correct or expresses what he wants it to say. Then, go over all the punctuation. Does every sentence end with the correct punctuation? Are there sentences that need commas? Finally, go over the writing for any spelling errors.
Once your child follows these steps, he will be more confident about handing the writing over to you. Explain that you are simply a second pair of eyes to catch anything he missed. Go over the writing together and help your child with any errors he missed. While, there may be more grammatical details and formatting issues, it is important to master one thing at a time. The CHOPS method will empower the child and he will be on his way, through practice and guidance, to become proficient in writing skills.
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