Children face new challenges as they enter upper elementary school. From third through fifth grade, students are expected to compose pieces that are increasing complex in narrative, informational and persuasive genres. For example, they write memoirs, nonfiction feature articles, personal and literary essays, research-based arguments, poetry and even graphic novels! They must be familiar with the stages of the writing process—rehearsal, drafting, revising, editing and publishing–and be comfortable and adept at moving from one to the other with intention. They learn to employ author’s craft in their writing with purpose and panache. They have to organize their writing effectively, write with precise detail, and use techniques that give their writing voice. And they are expected to use the conventions of language—spelling, grammar and punctuation–with accuracy and elegance.
Our tutors’ extensive experience teaching writing to students in grades 3-5 puts them in an ideal position to help children in this age group develop stronger writing skills, as well as prepare for the challenges of middle school. They both reinforce and extend the teaching students receive in school. Our tutors break down the writing process into clear steps children grasp. For young writers who are having difficulties, tutors know how to help them organize their thoughts, get their ideas on the page and come to see themselves as writers. And for those students who are especially compelled to write, our tutors challenge them to stretch themselves further with special advanced writing projects.
Our tutors enjoy helping students discover their own stories, interests and opinions to write about. They teach them how to figure out what meanings they wish to communicate about their topics – one of the important developmental milestones in the upper elementary grades. They teach students more sophisticated strategies for navigating each stage of the writing process, such as how to use a writer’s notebook to brainstorm and develop topics before they write drafts; how to use graphic organizers to organize their writing; and how to employ various means of revising their drafts. They show students well-crafted mentor (or model) texts to help them build their knowledge of craft and to notice and emulate craft techniques authors use. Diagnosing what each child’s writing lacks in terms of conventions, they provide the instruction students need in spelling, grammar and punctuation. Through tutoring sessions, upper elementary school children learn how to make their pieces evocative and to infuse their writing with voice.