At this time of year, many parents ask about how they can help their child with their writing tasks. One writing task may be to write a persuasive text. Students have to argue their own opinion in a convincing way.
You can help your child with this by asking them their opinion on any topic that comes up - from the news, events at school, the actions of a character in a story/movie. ‘What do you think about that?’ ‘Do you agree with what he/she did?’ ‘What would you like to happen instead?’
Then you can have parent's revenge - ask 'Why?' Elicit some reasons that support their opinion. This should only be a five minute chat.
As their opinion-formation develops, you can start to play devil's advocate, encouraging more convincing language to be used.
This will help all children to get their ideas together quickly for their writing; it is also a great way to build their comprehension skills. Here are some other types of questions you can ask to develop higher level comprehension:
- What did you think about _____________ doing ________________?
- What might be the result of _________________?
- If that happened to you, how would you feel/what would you do?
- Do you agree with what happened/what ____________ did?
- Can you think of another situation in which the same/similar thing could happen?
- What could ______________ have done differently?
- What advice would you give _____________?
- Is there a moral to this story?
- What do you think is the most important/critical event in the story?
- What did you learn from reading this?
These are conversational questions and the answers will elicit further conversation. So an added bonus of helping your child to be opinionated is that family relations can benefit; you will be showing that you value your child’s opinion and you are interested in their ideas.
By Janice McGuire BA, Dip Ed; NumberWorks’nWords