As your teen starts to think about their college essays, are you worried that their writing skills may be lacking? Are you looking for ways your teen can more easily get words from their mind onto paper and clearly express their thoughts so that he/she finds success with school classes and college admissions?
At Total Writing Enrichment we often get asked how teens can become better writers. Unfortunately, unlike math where there is a step by step process that can give you a right or wrong answer, there is no clear cut formula or right answer when it comes to being a good writer.
However, there are specific guidelines that your teen can follow to ensure improving their skills in preparation for college essay writing and college admissions! The easiest thing your teen can do is READ.
I know that most teens don’t enjoy reading, and even if they do, it’s difficult to find time to read in the midst of high school schedules. As summer starts though and your teen starts to have more free time, I’m sharing a list of 5 books that changed my life (and I think will change your teen’s life too!).
Educated – By: Tara Westover
How do I even begin to explain my love for this book? Educated, a memoir, tells the story of Tara Westover’s life as she leaves her family in Idaho in search of an education. This is the kind of book that moves you. In fact, it changed my outlook on my own education.
I read this book in one sitting. I seriously could not put it down! Plus, the first person, narrative style of story-telling is the perfect example of college essay writing, making Educated a great read for older high schoolers preparing for applications.
*CW: This book does have a few graphic scenes of violence, so I would recommend this for older high schoolers!* Buy it here!
To Kill a Mockingbird – By: Harper Lee
Until I read Educated, To Kill a Mockingbird was hands down the best book I had ever read. Don’t worry, it still holds the number one spot, but it’s just tied for first now! This is a great read for all ages. I read TKAM for the first time when I was in sixth grade, but I have probably read it four more times since then!
This was another life changer for me. It opened my eyes to realities I never knew existed, and I even wrote a college essay about how it affected me. The creative, narrative storytelling in To Kill a Mockingbird is another example for young minds to experience rich vocabulary and rhetorical skills used by good writers.
Buy it here!
The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
I was assigned this book in my sophomore year English class, and to be honest, I wasn’t too excited, but after reading the first few chapters, I couldn’t stop reading. The Kite Runner is the first book that ever made me cry, and I consider it to be another life changer. It’s the kind of book that gives you a new perspective of the world and exposes you to the life experiences of others. Again, the narrative writing is great for your teens to read and experience to become a better writer.
Buy it here!
The Harry Potter Series – By: J.K. Rowling
For teens (and younger) who claim they don’t like to read – I suggest a Harry Potter book. I’ve read the Harry Potter series more times than I can count! The books are engaging, easy to read, and have such detailed, rich writing that just by reading, your teens can further their own writing skills. Plus, I always follow up each book by watching the movie and make a fun movie night out of it!
Buy them all here!
The Perks of Being a Wallflower – By: Stephen Chbosky
Last but definitely not least on my list is The Perks of Being a Wallflower. This book is an easily digestible read, and I love that it tells such a real story about high school life. With an easy to follow but incredibly engaging plotline, this is another great read for teens who “don’t like reading!” Plus, the movie version of the book is on Netflix, which is always good motivation. The narrative style of this book will help your teen develop their own narrative writing skills, perfect for college essay writing.
Buy it here!
Enjoy, and let us know if your teen reads any of my suggestions!
*Moira Ritter is a junior at Georgetown University and looks forward to contributing her writing skills to Total Writing Enrichment this summer!