Essay writing can be very difficult for children when they are first starting out. Many students may struggle with figuring out where to begin, how to structure their essay, or how to incorporate details and examples. You can help guide your child through the essay writing process with these 5 tips for teaching essay writing to children.

  1. First, be sure to help your child select a specific topic. While a teacher may already have given them a broad subject or idea, they will likely have to narrow down the topic into something more specific. Determine what the purpose of the essay is with your child. Are they expected to express an opinion, argue a side, or report facts? Once you and your child understand the teacher’s expectation you can select a topic or a “thesis statement” around which the rest of the paper will revolve.
  2. Before diving into the essay itself, it is necessary that you help your child to collect and organize his or her thoughts. Using a graphic organizer is a great habit for kids to get into as a pre-writing strategy. You can separate ideas by paragraph and in bullet points. Your child can also identify and list the main ideas or points that he or she will discuss in each paragraph. Remember that each statement or main idea should have about three examples to support it as evidence. Complete sentences are not necessary in the graphic organizer phase, but phrases can be incorporated into the essay later on.
  3. Help your child begin the writing process. They should understand that most essays are comprised of 5 paragraphs, unless otherwise instructed by their teacher. The introduction should hook the reader, introduce the topic, and provide the thesis statement. The thesis statement is the specific idea that your child will discuss or prove in their essay.
  4. Next, they will need to support this thesis with three body paragraphs. Each paragraph will explain a different aspect of the thesis statement. These paragraphs each need their own topic sentence at the beginning, supporting evidence such as facts or quotes and transition phrases at the end to help link each body paragraph to the next.
  5. Finally, your child will need to develop their conclusion paragraph. This paragraph should first restate the thesis in different words. Then it can recap the points made in the body paragraphs as a summation of the text. Finally, the essay should connect the reader to the essay and explain why this information is important or relevant on a larger scheme. What does your child want the reader to take away with them after reading this essay?

When all paragraphs are complete, it is necessary to get your child in the habit of checking his or her work by editing and proofreading. You may help them with this portion as a second pair of eyes. Even if your kid wasn’t educated with Baby Einstein early in life, they will still be able to write a cohesive, strong essay with a bit of your guidance and advice.