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How Parents Can Support the Common Core Writing Standards

By: Reading Rockets

Is your school using the new Common Core standards? This is a big change for students — and their parents. Get to know the four "anchors" of the Common Core writing standards and simple things you can do at home to help your child build skills in all of these areas.

The Common Core State Standards are national standards that indicate what K-12 students are expected to learn in math and the English language arts. The standards themselves are lengthy and span K-12, but it's important for parents to understand the goals of the standards and ways to support school instruction at home.

The recommendations below align with the four "anchor standards" of the Common Core writing standards: Text Types and Purposes, Production and Distribution of Writing, Research to Build and Present Knowledge, and Range of Writing.

Text Types and Purposes

What it means: We write for many different purposes, and these standards address that fact. Teachers will be asking students to write opinion pieces about books or topics, informative pieces that contain facts about a topic, and more traditional-style writing called narrative in which students write about specific events or details.

How parents can help: Help your child see the different types of writing you do in your adult life. Talk about the writing you do for work and the more casual writing you do to friends. Then have fun encouraging your child to write their own opinion pieces — ask them to write a review of last night's dinner or the last family movie you watched.

Production and Distribution of Writing

What it means: These standards address editing and publishing work. Teachers and students may work together to edit drafts of written pieces, focusing on specific suggestions to make the writing more clear or informative. The standards also address sharing written work using a variety of digital tools.

How parents can help: Help your child feel good about receiving feedback. Constructive suggestions can help make a child's writing clearer and the writing process more enjoyable. Then, discover ways to share your child's writing with a larger audience — email or mail stories and poems, have your child contribute to the family blog, and keep an eye out for writing contests designed just for kids.

Research to Build and Present Knowledge

What it means: Students will be working with classmates on research and writing projects. Together they'll collaborate to gather information and present findings in an accurate way.

How parents can help: Consider checking out some "how-to" books from the library. Discuss the way the book is designed to teach someone to do something. Notice the format, short directions, and pictures or diagrams. Then, choose a topic to create your own family "how-to" book. It could be for a well-loved recipe or some other task that has multiple steps — how to clean the bathroom, unload the dishwasher, or program the DVR.

Range of Writing

What it means: The range of writing standards begin in Grade 3, and simply refer to the goal of having students write routinely over extended periods of time.

How parents can help: Parents can help promote their writer in many ways, and here are just a few: find time to share and celebrate the writing that comes home from school, highlight how writing is a part of every day, and take the time to notice and appreciate the beautiful writing found within books.

Reading Rockets (2013)

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