We are now living in a world in which many parents are having to work with their children’s education in ways they are unused to. Sometimes we make things — many things — so much more complicated than they need be. But let’s make this one simple.
Storytelling is natural
It is part of being human, from the earliest times of sitting around a fire.
And believe it or not, the ubiquitous 5-paragraph essay is a form of story-telling, and even it is natural!
Now how to convince your tween or teen of this.
When your tween asks you (or tries to tell you) about going to that questionable party (now, the one with only six other people attending…) they are using the 5-paragraph essay to convince you that they should be able to go.
They have probably never seen their English assignment in quite this way, though. So you can share these thoughts with them, to that end.
The Introductory paragraph
This is when they sidle up to you as you are working your laptop, and they begin with a sentence that compels you to listen. Maybe they mention the word “get-together” or “friends meeting up.” Maybe they do call it a party…but it’s framed in a way that makes you pay attention to the tone and all the positives. There’s some sort of “thesis statement” about the nature of this get-together, and even to how it might play a great role in their future.
Those three “body” paragraphs
Next, after gauging your response, the young and hopeful party-goer is going to come up with three reasons why they should be able to attend this gathering. And these three reasons are going to escalate: so the first reason might seem quite innocuous (“I haven’t seen my pal, Cindy, since day one of lock-down and we need to reconnect), to reason number three, which might be that their entire future depends on knowing where exactly the Boltons live…presumably so your tween can drop off a resume some day to work at Momma Bolton’s bookstore.
And each of those reasons will be fleshed out as a paragraph with reasoning and examples to back up what they are saying.
And then, just in case Listening Parent needs extra motivation to say yes, all stops should be pulled for the concluding paragraph — a re-cap of the three reasons, with a final PUSH of some type.
Any young person who has ever requested anything of a parent or guardian will know all about this. They just may never have made the obvious connection between essay writing (yawn) and getting to that party or having a “yes” to that allowance increase, or any other thing they have had to ask.
Writing might even become their new thing.
This post was previously published on A Parent Is Born.
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