How to Make Students Care About Writing

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I want to share something important with everyone about writing.   

Are you listening?   Are you sure?

Okay, here goes:

Writing is incredibly hard, and often incomplete.  Even after editing your writing many times.  After you put it down and walk away, when you come back you will still spot little errors or ways to improve it.  The writing process is never truly done.

Today, there is a growing consensus that students need strong writing skills to succeed in the workplace; however, educators passionately disagree on the best ways to teach those skills. Some call for greater focus on the fundamentals of grammar: building vocabulary, identifying parts of speech, and mastering punctuation. Others believe that students need more opportunities to develop their voice through creative expression.

With that said, it appears that many methods seem to be falling short.  In a recent study done by the National Assessment of Educational Progress, they suggest that only one in four high school students are meeting grade level expectation in writing.  

Personally, I have spent over thirty years in the classroom.  My roles varied from public school teacher to reading/writing specialist… Homeschooling mother to private tutor… homeschooling teacher to homeschooling consortium owner…

During this time, I have observed many, many students.  Some of my students truly believe that they “don’t like writing” or are “bad writers.”  I disagree.

I strongly believe that most students haven’t had the opportunity to write enough.  

I believe to learn how to write… you must write …. and write often.   In addition, students need to read. Read often. Read a variety of materials. Read everything. By reading and writing daily, most students will improve.

Of course, there are a few things that will assist you (as the homeschooling mother/teacher) in the process.  

First and foremost, overcorrecting.   It is better to UNDER-correct student’s work and let them learn by hearing their written word out loud.  Red pen markings will turn off a child. Pick a few skills (two or three) that you have taught and have the students first master (or get used to) those.

Next, provide lots of feedback.   Congratulate your students and do it often.  Give kudos to everything and anything good you see within the writing! Focus on that.

This is really not rocket science.  When a human feels good about something, they will continue to do it.  If a person is critiqued too much, they will feel “dumb” or “incompetent” and will shy away from whatever they are doing.

Writing is a process.  The end product is not as important as going through the process over and over and yes, over again.   The more a student writes – the better his/her writing will get.

Grammar worksheets won’t do it folks.  Memorizing random vocabulary words won’t either.  The only thing that will help a child improve their writing is – guess what – writing!

SOURCE: “NAEP Nations Report Card – National Assessment of Educational Progress – NAEP.” Revenues and Expenditures for Public Elementary and Secondary Education: School Year 2001-2002, E.D. Tab, National Center for Education Statistics,

EvaEva Goldstein-Meola is not only co-founder of Open Tent Academy, but an instructor as well as a former homeschooling mother. She has lived in New Jersey, Florida, Western Massachusetts, Northern Virginia and now resides just outside of Jerusalem. Eva holds a Master’s Degree as a Consulting Teacher of Reading and Writing, IEW certification and a Bachelor’s Degree as an Elementary Teacher. She has also been involved in education since 1986 as a Private Tutor, Teacher, Reading Specialist, Homeschooling Mother, Homeschooling Teacher and Business Owner of an Online Education Consortium.

Some other articles by Eva:

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Benefits of Online Classes

The Importance of Reading Out Loud – to ALL Ages!

First Day Traditions – Back to Homeschooling

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Middle School Writing

Gap Year – Gaining Experience Before Higher Education

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Old-School Outside Games

OTA – Helping You Homeschool Better

No… I Don’t Get It All Done

A Novel Idea – Teaching With Literature

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Top Reasons to LOVE Online Learning

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For the Love of Literature

Morning Routines: A Necessary Evil

It’s Never Too Early To Think About Summer Programs

Ten Ways To Improve Your Child’s Reading Skills

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