At a glance
Talking with the teacher is a good step toward helping your child with writing.
It can help you understand what you’re seeing and what you can do next.
Having the words to say can make the conversation easier.
If your child is struggling with writing, you may not know how to start getting help. Talking with your child’s teacher is a good next step. The teacher can tell you what’s happening in school and suggest ways to improve your child’s writing skills.
You can talk with the teacher in person, or by phone, or email — whichever way works best for both of you. But how should you approach it? What should you ask or say?
It’s not always easy to open up about your child’s challenges or ask for help. If you feel uncomfortable doing it, you’re not alone. But knowing what to say can make the process easier.
There are some general rules to follow to get the most out of your conversation with the teacher:
- Be clear.
- Be specific.
- Ask questions.
- Ask follow-up questions.
If something isn’t clear or you need more information don’t be afraid to keep asking. The reason for your talk is to understand what’s going on and what might help your child get better at writing.
These sample conversation starters can help you plan what to say. Use them as a guide as you jot down your own questions.
Asking to meet or talk: “Hi. I’m Ava’s dad, Jack. Ava’s having a hard time when she has to do writing at home, and I’d like to set up a time to talk about it.”
Starting the conversation: “Thanks for talking with me. I’m worried about Ava’s writing. Whenever she writes, she can’t figure out how to start — even when we talk through it. Plus, her handwriting is really bad.”
Sharing information: “Lately, Ava’s been getting upset about having to do homework. I didn’t think it meant anything. But could she be upset about writing?”
Getting information: “Can you tell me how Ava’s writing is compared with other kids’ writing? Is there something specific she’s having trouble with?”
Following up on answers: “I’m not sure what you mean by written expression. Can you explain what that is?”
Asking about help: “What can help Ava get better at writing? Are there things you can do in class, or is there someone else at school who can give her extra help? What should I be doing at home?”
Finishing the conversation: “Thank you for talking with me. I have a much better idea of what’s going on. If it’s OK, I’d like to check in with you after I’ve thought about this more to talk about what happens next.”
Do you have a parent-teacher conference coming up? Here’s a worksheet to help you get ready.
Be clear and specific when you talk to the teacher. Ask questions.
Don’t hesitate to keep asking questions if you need more information.
Share what you’re seeing at home, even if it doesn’t seem related.
About the author
About the author
The Understood Team is made up of passionate writers and editors. Many of them have kids who learn and think differently.
Trynia Kaufman, MS was the senior manager of editorial research at Understood. She is a former educator and presents nationwide at education conferences.