How to help your child break a written assignment into parts

The key is to identify specific parts that will make the job more manageable for your child. The selected parts may vary from one task to another. The ones mentioned below can serve as a guide.

Part #1: Review the type of written assignment

Carefully examine the homework. What kind of writing does it require? Is it a research paper, a personal story, or an analysis of something your child read? Look for keywords in the assignment such as “compare”, “discuss” or “share”. Make sure your child understands what to do for that type of homework.

Part #2 Make a list of the parts and design a schedule

Before you start writing, your child needs to know all the parties involved. They will make up the parts of the task. Depending on the type of task assigned, some of the parts might include:

  • Gather information.
  • Research and/or read.
  • Take notes (a graphic organizer can help).
  • Decide the theme or main idea to develop.
  • Create an outline (a graphic organizer can help).
  • Write the first draft.
  • Correct.
  • Check.

Once you’ve determined the parts, your child can develop a schedule for completing them. Help him estimate how long each one will take. Take into account the deadline for delivery (include more time for those parts that may be particularly complicated).

Also, when you finish a section, review it together. Once your child is on track, you can review after they have finished various sections.

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Part #3: Gather Resources

Discuss what your child needs to know and where they need to get that information. If it’s a book report, make sure she has a copy of the book (if she needs an audiobook, also make sure she has it). If it’s a research paper, help him find reliable sources of information at the library or on the Internet.

Part #4: Read and highlight the information

Encourage children to find information that they consider essential or of interest to them. This is a two-part task: reading and highlighting. If your child doesn’t know how to highlight information, work with him to develop this skill.

You can start by asking him what he thinks is important after reading each page. Then you can highlight that information.

Part #5: Decide the thesis to develop

This is the argument or main idea that your child will be presenting in the writing assignment. Help him review and select his ideas. Ask him to tell you some of the points that led him to present that particular argument or idea. Depending on the differences in your child’s way of thinking and learning, it is advisable to allocate more time to this part. Take help from

Part #6: Make an outline

Many graphic organizers create outlines for different types of written work. If your child is using one that you don’t, he can organize her notes to make one. She can even copy each note onto a card or index card and arrange them that way. The outline should explain the story (or present the case) from beginning to end.

Part: #7: Review the necessary paragraphs

If your child is using a graphic organizer, it may include a pattern or model. You can also help him do one on his own (ask him if the teacher provided written instructions describing the assignment).

For example, research papers have a common format. The first paragraph contains the thesis (argument or main idea), followed by an explanation of what follows.

The next three paragraphs support the thesis presented by providing more details and using citations or data. The last paragraph summarizes the thesis and recapitulates the details that support it.

Part #8: Write a draft

Certain differences in the way of thinking and learning can be an obstacle to doing the whole draft at once. These include dysgraphia, ADHD, last executive functioning difficulties and a slow processing speed.

An eraser can help you decide how your child will build paragraphs. Set up a schedule so she can keep up with what she has to write. For example, you could write for increments of half an hour, with breaks in between. You could also write one or two paragraphs at a time.

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